According to Kobe Bryant, Shaquille O’Neal would have been the Greatest Of All Time, if only The Diesel had a work ethic like The Mamba’s.
When one talks about the most dominant figure in basketball history, Shaquille O’Neal is the one name that is constantly brought up in that conversation. Standing at 7-foot-1 and weighing a whopping 325 pounds, Shaq was a nightmare for any player who had the duty to guard him. And because of this inhuman size of his, The Diesel was able to command over the paint on both sides of the court, night in and night out for nearly two long decades.
Shaq was very well aware of the huge size advantage he had over his opponents and used it relentlessly to bully several superstars in the league. And because of this, O’Neal managed to rack up one of the best-decorated resumes ever seen in league history.
At the conclusion of his illustrious 19-year career, Shaq had 15 All-Star appearances, 14 All-NBA selections, 2 Scoring titles, 4 NBA Championships, 3 Finals MVPs, 1 MVP, 28,596 points scored, numerous posterizers and several shattered backboards.
Despite having such an incredible career, Kobe Bryant believed that Shaq could’ve been the undisputed GOAT with 12 rings if only the big man had a work ethic like The Mamba’s
“I wish Shaquille O’Neal was in the gym more. I would’ve had 12 rings”: Kobe Bryant
Back in 2019, years after his retirement, in an interview at the PHP Convention in Las Vegas, Bryant was asked:
“Who would Shaq be if he had your work ethic?”
Now, Kobe Bryant is known for his crazy obsession with perfecting his craft by dedicating several hours into practice. Undoubtedly, Bean has the best work ethic in all of NBA history. If Shaq had a Kobe Bryant-type work ethic, Kobe himself believed that O’Neal would be the greatest player of all time with 12 rings.
“He’d be the greatest of all time,” Bryant said. “He’d be the first to tell you that. This guy was a force like I have never seen. It was crazy. Generally, guys at that size are a little timid and they don’t want to be big. This dude did not care. He was mean, he was nasty. He was competitive, he was vindictive. I wish he was in the gym. I would’ve had f–king 12 rings.”
During that same interview, The Mamba also revealed how the two of them would’ve had fewer feuds if only Shaq had the same level of commitment to the game as Bryant did.
“Do you think if he would’ve had the same level of commitment to the game as you did, you guys would have fewer feuds between each other?”, Kobe was asked
“Yeah. Listen, I don’t deal with people that don’t commit at that level, but then act as if they do. I don’t deal with that. I don’t. It’s real sh*t.