The pairing of Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant in Los Angeles was deadly. The two captured the highly coveted three-peat status in the NBA before having a rather famous fallout. Now, over a decade after they stopped playing on the same team, the two sat down to discuss what happened in the land of purple and gold.
In the most recent edition of The Big Podcast with Shaq, the giant center chopped it up with his former teammate to clear the air on a lot of things. The two of them shared stories about their time as a duo, and revealed some funny details about their friendship. If you do not feel like listening to the 47 minute conversation, which you really should― because it’s Shaq and Kobe― we have some of the highlights.
Here are the five things we learned from their highly-anticipated discussion.
Shaq believes he and Kobe were the most dominant 1-2 punch in NBA history.
The podcast opens with Shaq labeling them both as GOATS in the game. Later on though, the two discussed why they did not stay together, and agreed that it came down to business decisions. Management at the Los Angeles Lakers felt four years was enough and wanted to move in a different direction, and neither player is mad at that looking back.
When Kobe and Shaq had disagreements, they would air it out with each other.
Instead of being afraid of confronting each other and working out their differences, they would get in each other’s faces and let the other have it. Verbally, that is. If you ask Kobe though, that made the team stronger:
What made our disagreements special was that we said them to each other’s face. We didn’t go behind each other’s back and whisper to our teammates about this, that and the other. That could do nothing but create friction and it’s cancerous to the team. When you get things out right in front of each other, say what you’re thinking and have those disagreements — you agree to disagree, move on and all of a sudden the integrity of the team is preserved. And then when you come out of that, the team is all the better for it, because now you have more momentum, and I think that’s what catapulted us, especially for that second championship.
Shaq at one point threatened to kill Kobe― sorta.
Both players admitted their arguments became heated at times, and mentioned they almost scrapped with each other on several occasions. But there was a time when Shaq actually went to the press and said he wanted to bury Kobe. Obviously this did not happen, but it seemed like their feud was really serious. When during the podcast, the Lakers shooting guard said his reaction at the time was, “well come on then.”
Both players think the NBA is a lot softer now.
When asked if he felt the same as Shaq about the NBA losing its grit, Kobe wholeheartedly agreed:
You have certain players with that aggressiveness and that mentality. It’s tough to tell. It’s a different generation. I grew up playing against Michael and (Gary Payton) and all these stone-cold assassins, (like) John Stockton and all these guys. So I had that mentality. You don’t really see that mentality around the league these days. Everybody’s buddy-buddy.
Kobe confirmed that his wife calls him Bay-Boo.
But Kobe does not care what you call him. His goal is to drop 60 points on any opponent, regardless of what nickname they give him.
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