“You Only Win because Shaquille O’Neal is your Teammate”: Kobe Bryant Once Revealed What Fueled his 5 NBA Championship run

Arjun Julka
|Published 18/11/2022

An all-time great duo, Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant, had a historic run donning the purple and gold in LA. The Hall of Famers spent 8-years together, making 4-trips to the NBA Finals, which included a 3-peat. The Diesel’s dominance, coupled with the Mamba’s scoring prowess, accounted for one of the greatest basketball shows.

However, their run wasn’t as perfect as it seemed, given their frequent ego tussles and controversies. Both Shaq and Kobe were individuals with intimidating personalities and strong opinions. Reports of them feuding during practices, including cases of laying hands on each other, often did the rounds.

Fortunately for Lakers Nation, they were blessed with the services of Zen Master Phil Jackson, who knew how to keep the two hotheads in check. Having dealt with the antics of Dennis Rodman on the Bulls’ dynastic run, the veteran coach was the right person for the assignment.

Also read: “I don’t know how to play chess, Kobe Bryant”: Shaquille O’Neal remembers Black Mamba’s hilarious chess metaphor

While Shaq-Kobe had a phenomenal run for the longest time, cracks started appearing in their relationship towards the end. Ultimately, the Big Diesel would be traded, following which his rift with the Black Mamba was more prevalent than ever.

When Kobe Bryant revealed how Shaquille O’Neal made him angry.

Post Shaq’s exit from LA LA Land, the seven-foot center would never hesitate to take shots at former teammate Kobe. At the time, the narrative being played out in the media suggested that the Lakers guard was the reason behind the Big Diesel’s ouster, with a growing notion that Kobe couldn’t win without the latter.

Nevertheless, Kobe had no issues with others laying an asterisk on his titles. However, when Shaq began chiming in on the narrative that had him being the architect behind the Lakers dynasty, the Black Mamba had enough, reminding the big man of ‘what time it is.’

When asked about the narrative, ‘You only won because Shaq was your teammate,’ the two-time Finals MVP had the following response.

“No, I never really cared about when other people said that, they never bothered me, that people said, ‘Well, you only win championships because you playing with Shaq, it bothered me when he said it, So when he said it, I said, okay, you know what? that’s it because you know what time it is.”

And didn’t the Mamba shift gears post then, winning 2-championships in a repeat and being Finals MVP each time.

When Kobe Bryant hilariously roasted Shaquille O’Neal for having one more than him.

While Diesel got his first ring without Kobe in 2006, the latter had to wait but ultimately managed to get past Shaq’s 4-rings, earning a total of 5 by the end of his 20-season career.

During a postgame media interaction, when asked, what the 5th title meant to him, Kobe’s response left everyone in splits.

“I just got one more than Shaq.” 

One of the coldest statements in NBA history to date.

Also read: Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant’s three-peat wouldn’t be possible if $20 million man didn’t ‘throw a towel’


About the author
Arjun Julka

Arjun Julka

Arjun Julka is a NBA author at The SportsRush. Basketball isn’t just a sport for this 26-year-old, who hails from Mumbai. He began watching the sport after stumbling upon a court in his society, helping him identify an undiscovered passion for the game of hoops. Now an ardent fan, Arjun supports Stephen Curry and the Warriors but also enjoys watching Giannis Antetokounmpo own the paint. When it comes to the GOAT debate, the TSR author feels LeBron James is yet to receive a lot of his due but cannot deny marveling at Michael Jordan’s resume.

Read more from Arjun Julka