Wednesday, February 13th, 2013 at 12:50 pm  |  29 responses

Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal are Now Friends

After fighting and feuding with each other en route to three NBA championships, and continuing to throw darts long after they were no longer teammates, Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal seem to have at last buried the hatchet. Shaq was sitting courtside for the Suns/Lakers game last night, and could be seen talking and joking around with Bryant prior to tip off. Following the win, Kobe talked about their much-improved relationship. Per the LA Daily News: “‘Shaq and I have a really, really good relationship now,’ Bryant said. ‘It’s good. I think it’s a good lesson for all of us.’ And what is that lesson? ‘I think we appreciate each other more now than ever,’ Bryant said. ‘I think the further you get away from the history that you had together, the more you put perspective on it on how dominant we were.’ No one disputed that. Bryant and O’Neal teamed up for three NBA championships from 2000 to 2002. They formed one of the NBA’s most formidable duos. Plenty of teams wondered if they could ever stop them. They could, namely because they stopped themselves. [...] ‘The challenge for me was to show [O'Neal] and show everybody else that I could win without him,’ Bryant said. ‘And point proven. So, I’m fine either way. I took it as an honor and as a challenge to be a player that could play a supporting role and then move from that and take the leading role and win that way as well. I took a lot of pride of that, but I also took a lot of pride in kind of being a floor general and letting [O'Neal] do his thing.’ [...] ‘It’s fun for us to kind of get together again and kind of reminisce on some of the old stories,’ Bryant said. ‘It’s fun. It’s good to see him.’”

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  • http://twitter.com/AjpDos Allen Powell

    Last paragraph contains the news. The idea that Kobe ended the dynasty to prove something about his legacy. Not new news but another example of him rewriting history as he ages.

  • Max

    Am I the only one who laughed a little bit at the headline?

  • Happy

    At least he’s being honest now. It was all about wanting to be ‘the man’.

  • spit hot fiyah

    not at all

  • spit hot fiyah

    commenters! tell me how my comment tastes

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=509819249 Gaurav P.

    I know Kobe’s going to catch flack for basically saying that he wanted to prove to others he wanted to win without Shaq…but keep in mind that fans still throw around the fact that he was #2 during the 3-peat as an insult and you can understand why he wanted to do things on his own.

    Although this basically proves that he was lying through his teeth during the entire 2004-2005 season about his free agency and claims that his decision had nothing to do with Shaq being traded.

  • pposse

    when will he realize that him and shaq could have won a fistful more of rings together, he will be 65 yrs old before he admits this.

  • http://twitter.com/niQknacks niQ

    What paragraphs? You mean the only paragraph. =P

  • Conor

    The Busses chose Kobe over Shaq because O’Neal had become a petulant whiner who refused to accept his contemporary circumstances, like he did with literally every other franchise he played for. Stop.

  • Happy

    Did you pay attention to ANYTHING Phil Jackson said about this whole debacle? Kobe is being honest, Phil turns out was 100% truthful about Kobe’s attitude about playing with Shaq, yet you Kobe freaks are still defending him.

  • ashemsmashem

    Kobe didn’t force shaq out of town…I remember shaq mumbling to dr.buss to “pay me my money”……point blank if they had signed shaq to that massive contract he was asking for they wouldn’t have been able to afford kobe. Shaq was always out of shape every off season & he had bad feet. People wouldn’t give kobe credit for helpint shaq win those 3 rings but then get upset when he admits he needed to be “the man”? Would he be appreciated if he didn’t become the man? I doubt it

  • KevinJohnsonFan

    Dr. Buss chose Kobe because he was younger and he had shot so much during the Finals. One had to go. It reached such a bad point. He went with the younger guy. Not because of anything Shaq did wrong.

  • KevinJohnsonFan

    He says it like he knew he was going to be able to do it. The guy who wanted one of the most dominant players ever gone so that he could prove that he could win without him. That’s going to be part of his legacy. That’s why the “5 rings” thing needs to really be looked at carefully. Who doesn’t want to play with Shaq before he’s completely out of his prime? These dudes could have gotten 5 or 6 in a row. Who was going to stop them if they didn’t stop themselves? Let us remember that before Gasol arrived, he got to a point where he wanted to be traded. He probably won’t admit it but it wasn’t nearly as easy as he thought it was going to be. He missed the playoffs. He played with Kwame Brown, Smush Parker and Brian Cook. All he had to do was be more willing to be the 2nd guy who took over in the 4th quarter when needed. All he had to do was let Phil Jackson coach him. So we have a guy who had an issue with one of the greatest coaches and one of the most dominant players ever. He wanted to be number 1 and catch Jordan’s accomplishments (which was never going to happen since he had already won 3 with Shaq as the number 2 guy, Jordan won as the number 1 guy 6 times). But people don’t want to read about that. Especially his fans. All they know is “5 championships”.

  • KevinJohnsonFan

    Who didn’t give him credit for helping Shaq and taking over at times? He was appreciated. And notice you said off season. Shaq still came back and dominated each season. His work ethic wasn’t on par with Kobe’s, but the results were there.

  • pposse

    the sad part about it all is that the year Shaq got traded, Shaq deferred to Wade and let him be the top dog.

    Whose to say he would not have done the same for Kobe, all Kobe had to do was show some respect and it would have happened.

  • pposse

    if shaq was all about his money, then how come after one year playing with the Heat, Pat Riley was able to convince Shaq to take a 10 million dollar pay cut in order for Antoine Walker to join the team?

    Shaq would have passed the reigns over to Kobe, but never had the opportunity to; he let Wade be the man in Miami the second he got there. All Kobe had to do was be a little less egotistical.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jay.brodes Jay Brodes

    shaq does not like c-webb too much..maybe he is trying to recruit mamba to tnt. i wonder if kb does shaq’s jersey retirement in april?? that would be cool!

  • KevinJohnsonFan

    ?? Have you seen or heard Shaq say anything disrespectful about Chris Webber? Did you see them together on TNT a few weeks ago and how cool they were with each other?

  • RayJr

    Awwwwwwe finally! :)

  • http://twitter.com/apowellAdvocate Allen Powell II

    Well in the original story, which I read, that last part is a paragraph. It was probably a formatting issue for SLAM.

  • http://twitter.com/apowellAdvocate Allen Powell II

    What is a “contemporary circumstance”?
    And, they chose Kobe over Shaq because Kobe made it a choice, and he was keeper to keep at the time. But, he has been just as petulant and just as much of a whiner. And not he’s a salary cap albatross who is alienating the only real shot the Lakers had at being contenders moving forward. Pretend it was all Shaq if you like, but people know the truth.
    Besides, Kobe said he had nothing to do with Shaq leaving and wanted him to stay initially. Now he admits he wanted him out the door so he could “prove” he could win without him. So he helped destroy the most potent pairing in the NBA for the sake of his own ego and legacy. Stop.

  • http://twitter.com/apowellAdvocate Allen Powell II

    To be honest, he didn’t mumble it. He screamed “Pay me my MFing money” during a game that Buss attended to Buss’ face after a dunk. Just to set the record straight.

  • Dymez

    This article would’ve been a hot topic 5 or 6 years ago, Shaq and Kobe have been on good terms for a while now.

    Now if this was “Kobe and Karl Malone are now friends,” then we’d have something interesting here.

  • Conor

    His tenures in Orlando, Los Angeles, Miami, and Phoenix all ended with startlingly similarity. I guess there was a Kobe in all four cities. In Cleveland, he was a shell.

    @disqus_XoSVHCOtso:disqus: Kobe wanted to prove that he was the best, and Shaq was acting, as he always had done, like a child. It was an perfect storm of egos.

  • Conor


  • robb

    They found something on common: ripping Dwight Howard.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000072055986 Rodrigo Alvergue Breucop

    Kobe was/is a selfish ballhog period, wajnted Shaq out, he could not wait the way MAGIC did with Kareem, he had everything to do with Shaq leaving, he could have asked management to try not to lose him but he didn’t, he sat on his selfish ass waiting for Shaq to hit the road, imagine how many more rings they could have had together, thanks a lot selfish kid…..

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000072055986 Rodrigo Alvergue Breucop

    And the ballhog had everything to do with Shaq leaving,he xcould not wait like MAGIC did with Kareem to take over the team, it has been all about me me me me for kobe, 3 rings thanks to Shaq, 2 thanks to Gasol…..

  • http://twitter.com/apowellAdvocate Allen Powell II

    The fact that Shaq is a raging egomaniac doesn’t prevent Kobe from being an egomaniac. The two are not mutually exclusive. Kobe ran Shaq off because he wanted to prove he could win without him. This is the second time he’s made this point. Shaq’s decision to bail on Penny because he wanted fame, getting booted by the Lakers and Heat because they didn’t want to pay him has nothing to do with Kobe’s comments.