An inside into the relationship between the two Laker icons Shaquille O’Neal and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar did not share a very close relationship with Shaq during the latter’s initial years in the franchise. Kareem was the assistant coach of the LA Lakers at the time.
O’Neal soon became one of the most dominating players in the NBA. In his 8 seasons with the LA Lakers, Big Diesel had a 3-peat with the franchise and was the Finals MVP in each case.
The iconic duo of Kobe Bryant and Shaq to the purple and gold team to new heights. The team excelled under the guidance of veteran coach Phil Jackson.
Shaq had the best years of his prime as a Laker, winning several MVPs, scoring championships, and having multiple All-NBA First Team selections.
In his 8 seasons with the Lakers, the 15x All-Star didn’t have a very stable relationship with legend Kareem Abdul-Jabar. According to Shaq, he only spoke to the 6x NBA champion for a total of 3 minutes during his entire Lakers tenure.
All-Time Laker greats Shaquille O’Neal and Kareem Abdul Jabbar resolve their issues.
Probably two of the most successful big men in NBA history, Shaq and Kareem didn’t have a very close bond initially. While appearing as a guest on the Dan Patrick Show, O’Neal revealed that he rarely spoke to Kareem during his tenure in the Lakers.
I played for the Lakers for eight years. I probably talked to Kareem a total of three minutes, said O’Neal.
When prodded further about this, the 4x NBA champion spoke about how Lakers coach Bill Bertka would be the voice of Kareem and Wilt Chamberlain for him. Bertka would narrate various stories of Kareem and Chamberlin to Shaq that helped him improve his game a lot.
However, when asked about Shaq’s grievances against him. Kareem seemed rather unaware of the fact that Shaq wanted to learn from him.
“As a pro, I never approached Shaq because I thought he was pretty successful dunking everything and I assumed he didn’t want my help,” Abdul-Jabbar said. Shaq was enjoying his success, doing it his way. He never asked me of what I thought he should be doing and he never tried to reach out to me for any instruction and I respected that decision.”
The 6x MVP further added:
“If I had any idea that Shaq wanted to learn from me, I would have been happy to have worked with him, but all indications that I had received was that he felt he was doing fine and he didn’t need or want my help.”
via: Yahoo Sports
However, the two legends share a healthy relationship now and seemed to have resolved all the misconceptions.
“We have a good relationship now,” O’Neal revealed during a segment on TNT’s Inside the NBA a few years ago. “We met each other at the Final Four a couple of years ago and I asked him how come he never talked to me and he said,’ ‘How come you never talked to me?’”
“Kareem is a legend and I tried to be as good as him and wanted to be up in the rafters and we now have a good relationship. We are talking now.”