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Tuesday, April 2nd, 2013 at 10:35 am  |  58 responses

Kobe Bryant Always Reminds Shaquille O’Neal He Has More Championships


Their once icy relationship having thawed considerably over the years, Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal are now able to joke around and reminisce about their good (and bad) times together. KB says he makes sure to remind Shaq who has more NBA titles whenever he gets a chance. Per Yahoo! Sports: “In one of the team’s signature eras, Shaq and Kobe made four NBA Finals appearances with the Lakers, winning three consecutive titles from 2000-02. O’Neal won his only post-Lakers title with the Miami Heat in 2006, and it’s something Bryant won’t let the big man live down. ‘I always remind him every time I see him,’ Bryant, who’s won five championships with the Lakers, said. ‘I saw him after the All-Star Game and said, ‘How you doing, ‘Four’ ?’ He said, ‘Oh, you [expletive].’ [Our relationship is] really good now. We have such a mutual respect for each other.’ [...] What if the Lakers had chosen O’Neal over Bryant? ‘I would have went some place else and won more championships,’ Bryant said. ‘That’s how driven I was. I was just that obsessed about winning without him. Everything was about that. I was obsessive about it and there was nothing that was going to get in my way.’ O’Neal was traded to the Miami Heat on July 14, 2004, for Lamar Odom, Caron Butler, Brian Grant and first- and second-round picks. Bryant was re-signed by the Lakers the next day, but that didn’t put an end to the rivalry. [...] Despite the many issues, Bryant added that he ‘really, really learned a lot’ during O’Neal’s time with the Lakers from 1996-2004. ‘The thing that I respected about him was when he stepped on the court he was ferocious. That’s the thing we both had in common. Between those lines nothing could stop us,’ Bryant said. O’Neal averaged 27 points, 11.8 rebounds, 3.1 assists and 2.5 blocks per game in 514 regular-season contests with the Lakers. His best Laker season was the 1999-2000 campaign in which he averaged an NBA-best 29.7 points per game and won the regular-season and NBA Finals MVP awards. O’Neal will become the ninth Laker to have his jersey retired when his No. 34 is hung in the Staples Center rafters Tuesday night. [...] While O’Neal was known for his toughness on the floor, Bryant believes a softer side will be seen Tuesday night. ‘Throughout his career he’s always tried not to be sensitive,’ Bryant said. ‘But hopefully he will kind of let himself go a little bit. The fans should give him what he deserves because he gave us phenomenal, phenomenal years.’”

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

    nice to see they have a good relationship now! look forward to tonight! happy for shaq. i think mamba is going to have a big game!!

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

    In my mind, no force on a court can be as imposing as Shaq was in 2001.

    I had most games of that dominant 2001 Lakers run VHS’d; one of the most memorable teams I’ve ever had the pleasure of watching.

  • bike

    Wonder if Shaq will request a statue? You know Kobe’s expecting one–except Kobe envisions his bronze likeness to be four stories high with diamonds for eyes.

    Because he’s Kobe Motherfu*in Bryant.

  • The Seed

    It good Kobe and Shaq have a better relationship now. I always contend if Shaq’s pride did not get in the way and let Kobe lead the team. They could have had 8 rings together. It just shows you that two Alpha males made it work for three, but in the end Shaq career became a journey man career with him chasing a ring. I do give Shaq credit for the Heat’s ring, with his confidence he took to the team. Also Refs helped, but Shaq does have four and is tied with Duncan. The more you look at Shaq career, he left a lot off the court, if only he would get in shape on his time and constantly tired to improve his game. Shaq did play against better talent at center overall, but I will always feel he underachieved in his career.

  • cris

    I mean..all respect to Kobe..but dude was riding shotgun, putting up 18 a night on them first 3, while Shaq was dropping 35/15 like nothing. How you gone stunt on the dude that got you the first 3?

  • nhm

    that’s what makes the heat so special right now. wade was willing to let lebron lead. or so it seems, and lebron makes it known to everyone that he relies heavily on ALL his teammates.

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

    I think your repeat of “Kobe Motherfu*in Bryant” after every Kobe post is the equivalent to Philosopher’s “LONG LIVE….THE KING”.

  • Drig

    18 a night on them first 3? Shaq got Kobe title #1. Shaq AND Kobe got title no.2 . Kobe was the MVP till the Finals for title no.3 . Shaq owned teams in the Finals though.

    He can stunt on the dude because Shaq did the same for about 2 years after winning a title with the Heat. Pretty sure Shaq doesn’t mind it though.

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

    Hmm..

    2001 playoffs: 29 ppg, 7.3 rpg, 6.1 apg, 1.6 spg

    2002 playoffs: 26,6 ppg, 5.8 rpg, 4.6 apg, 1.4 spg

    2000: playoffs: 21.1 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 4.4 apg, 1.5 spg, 1.5 bpg

    From best to worst. He wasn’t “Kobe” yet during the 2000 playoffs, but he was definitely doing more than just riding shotgun and watching Shaq during the 3 peat, This is esp. true for 2001 when he took over entire playoff series and led the team like he did against the Spurs (put up something like 35/7/7).

    Shaq was obviously more dominant all 3 years though.

  • James

    Bird if you look at his playoff averages you can see he put up 21 ppg, 4.5 rpg, and 4.5 apg in 2000, 29.1 ppg, 7.3 rpg, and 6.1 apg in 2001, and 26.6 ppg, 5.8 rpg, and 4.8 apg… he never coasted or rode coattails to a chip

  • Drig

    Looking back at it………..DAYUM. They weren’t the most cohesive pair of teammates nor did their skillsets complement each other perfectly but they sure as hell were dominant.

    That was without a doubt the best 1-2 punch ever. Perhaps Magic-Kareem might come close and perhaps even own them depending on how Kareem handles Shaq’s physicality. To all the Chi-town guys raging about me not mentioning their 1-2, Pippen and Jordan would’ve had a tough time dealing with ’01 Kobe and prime Shaq IMO. Mainly with Shaq.

    Nice to see they’re back on friendly terms. Hopefully Lakers fans can still remember what the Big Fella brought to the organization and how dominant he was in his prime on the 3-peat team.

    Sigh, I kinda wish we had youtube and today’s hd quality back when Kobe-Shaq ruled the L………

  • Drig

    Not sure how Shaq’s career became one for chasing a ring. He was the reason the Heat were so damn good when they won the title. He would’ve had the MVP if not for Nash. ( Another thing both Shaq and Kobe have in common lol )

    Phoenix and Boston stints never existed. Never.

    Damn, just realized Kobe,Shaq and KG all had only 1 MVP……..the same as Rose at 23…….

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

    I mean… Todd Mccullough was his main defender in the 2002 Finals…it would be embarrassing if he didn’t win Finals MVP just based on that.

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

    I have yet to see a team as dominant as the 2001 Lakers team were against the 2001 Spurs. They annihilated the competition in the playoffs that year. Still not sure how Philly beat them in Game 1.

  • Drig

    Kobe and Shaq would’ve managed to win 6 rings at best before Shaq slowed down.

    Shaq didn’t underachieve. He should’ve got atleast one more MVP award in his prime but was penalized for playing with Kobe.

    I mean, how much more can you achieve? 4 rings, 3 Finals MVPs, MVP, 15x All Star, 2 x Scoring Champ, 8x First Team,ROY, Fiba World Championship MVP, 2 gold medals and averaged 26 PPG, 12 RPG, 2.5 BPG and 3 AST(!) for almost 15 years.

    15 freaking years!!! That’s ridiculous.

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

    KG’s teams were not that good (that has a lot to do with his teammates).

    Kobe was penalized for having Shaq until 2004, and then penalized for his teams sucking until 2008.

    AI’s dramatic story of changing his attitude robbed Shaq’s 2001 season, and Duncan was a better regular season player in 2002 and 2003.

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

    Again, I would point out that he says his goal was to win without Shaq. I feel this needs to be constantly noted so that Kobe fans will admit that he wanted out of the most successful partnership in the modern NBA that does not include Tim Duncan.

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

    Jordan and Pippen were a better team. They didn’t have better talent, but they were a better one-two punch.

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

    Because they had Allen Iverson. In fact, the first three games were highly competitive and the Lakers needed a Robert Horry dagger three pointer in Game Three to avoid going down 2-1. And that was despite Eric Snow and Aaron Mckie playing with fractures in their ankles and Mutombo dealing with dislocated fingers.

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

    Shaq’s pride?
    You read an article where Kobe says his goal was to win without Shaq, something he has said multiple times, and you mention Shaq’s pride?

  • LakeShow

    Co-Sign. Don’t have a VHS player but still got the tapes lol.

  • LakeShow

    Try and get your team in the playoffs Kobe. Sorry to be a hater, but their are more important things to be worried about right now.

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

    Not to mention Mutumbo having to deal with repeated elbows to his face from Shaq.

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

    He did want out, and I believe he made the right decision (otherwise, he’d have never received half the credit he receives now), but by 2003, that relationship was so toxic and dysfunctional that its hard to fathom the Lakers winning with them together.

    In 2000-2002, the relationship was at least salvageable. When Kobe’s trial began, both let themselves loose to the media, and it turned into a living soap opera that was going nowhere.

    They may have won games on talent alone, but winning championships requires chemistry that I doubt they could have rebuilt after the fallout they had.

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

    I think he means in the sense that when Kobe was inching closer to his prime (2002-2003 and onwards), Shaq kept inferring that his career was going to resemble Penny’s, etc, rather than letting him have the reigns. I don’t blame Shaq – he was the man and he didn’t want to let that go, much like what Kobe is doing to Dwight now.

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

    Shaq called Kobe the best player in the game. All Shaq said was don’t shoot long contested jumpers when I can get looks on the block. People remember this thing all wrong. Shaq had the same problem with Kobe that Dwight, Pau and Bynum had.
    FEED THE DAMN POST BUDDY!

  • robb

    So you think you care more about making the playoffs than Kobe??? Don’t you know the man??? C’mon Lake, your posts are usually smart. I can’t believe you posted that.

  • LakeShow

    Like I said, I’m being a hater, but i’m nervous dude. They gotta make the playoffs.

  • Drig

    So we’re gonna totally disregard that Shaq also wanted out by constantly undermining Kobe’s role and challenging him to get a title on his own and comparing him to Penny Hardaway after the Detroit series??

    Neither of them wanted to play with each other unless they absolutely had to. It’s almost impossible to recover such a partnership unless they go their separate ways and meet up again after both mature. That wasn’t possible. However, if they could’ve put the issues past them, which seemed almost impossible at that time, they could’ve pulled off a repeat and one more hard fought title imo.

    Also, what kinda Kobe fans argued that Kobe tried his best to stay with Shaq after ’04 lol? It was clear that they hated each other’s guts and the management decided to stick with Kobe. The Lakers are 2 championships richer for it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Junior-Taylor/100003121138419 Junior Taylor

    I love how Kobe was so certain that he would have won more championships playing somewhere else other than LA. That is one of the biggest luxuries of playing in La La land, their ability to restock HOF-caliber players (lost Shaq, replaced him with Gasol, Gasol slows down, restocks with Howard/Nash)

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000166716900 Anthony Darnello Taylor Jr.

    I always felt like Shaq could win a chip as long as he had an all star gaurd with him. If Shaq had Tmac, VC back then in his prime while they were still hot he could still the same amount of rings he has now. He won with Wade after he was leaving his prime and Wade was on the rise, If he had of went to Cleveland before he stopped in PHX he could have had that fifth before completely breaking down. Kobe is the kind of guy where you know he would win the big one but I feel like it wouldn’t have been as many without a guy like Shaq who to me is really a once in a life time kind of player Nobody was like Shaq to me.

  • TR

    They should both have one less, RIP to the 0’2 Kings

  • Drig

    Allen, I think we went into this earlier in one of the Jordan-Kobe comparisons.

    Spacing. Or lack thereof. The team in ’04 had no perimeter threat outside of Kobe and at times Payton. Look at the Lakers last season without having any perimeter threat outside of Kobe and MWP. They struggled badly to create enough space to get the ball to the player. Does Kobe ignore the post at times? Yes. By his own admission earlier in the season, he said he always wants to score. And he did have a few notable boneheaded games that season which had even this Kobe fan screaming at him for not dishing it down low. However, it wasn’t as regular as you make it seem. When he did stop feeding the post and started gunning, except in the Finals, it usually wasn’t at Shaq’s FG attempts. Hell, even in the games Kobe didn’t play, Shaq’s attempts were pretty constant throughout.

    If anything, he should’ve been pissed off about guys like Medvedenko, Devan George and Rush managed to average around 8 FGA each while Shaq had 14 FGA. Shaq had to make space for Malone in the post. ( Kobe had 18 for those who want to know )

    Either everyone had a grudge against Shaq and didn’t want to pass to him or the team had a tough time drawing players out and having enough space for the team to get the ball to Shaq before a double closes him out. Esp. since the players I’ve mentioned played around 20MPG.

    Now, I realize that Shaq wanted the O to run through the post more but I don’t actually remember too much about the regular season that year or individual plays run. As far as the boxscores and my memory goes, I’d say Kobe wasn’t the problem……………till the Finals………..

  • Jacob Nelson

    Kobe was averaging 25,6,5 and a steal and a half per game for those first 3 championships….not exactly chump change.

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

    Well, given the fact that the Lakers made the Finals that means the regular season and playoff strategy worked pretty well. Shaq always griped about shots, but tended to be okay with things in the long run.
    Then Kobe went COMPLETELY AND TOTALLY CRAZY in the Finals.
    I understand you have acknowledged this, but I feel it needs to be pointed out even more directly. He flipped out. He took more than 100 more shots than Shaq during playoffs and only made eight more shots. he shot sub 40 percent for the series, when Shaq had like two or three games of 70+ percent if I’m not mistaken. He was jacking up 20 plus shots and many of them were ridiculously contested jumpers. I don’t know if the Lakers had a chance to win or not, but with the way Kobe decided to play, THEY HAD NO SHOT.
    So Shaq griped about touches, as he likes to do, but instead of soothing his big guy, Kobe decided to just make things worse. And he’s done the same thing in other instances.

  • robb

    I love the Lakers, but honestly I don’t know if I want them to make the playoffs this year. They’re playing bad bb, I don’t wanna see them getting swept in the first round, it would be sad and frustrating. I don’t think my neighbours and my girl could stand it you know? me yelling and throwing away stuff? lol.

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

    Yeah, Kobe during the 2004 Finals was a lost cause. I think all his pent up rage from the trial just came out in 5 games. Pretty much said “F*k it, I’m getting mine, I don’t care about the team” and essentially sabotaged the Lakers with his selfish play.

    However, the Lakers had no business being the Finals with that roster. A rookie Luke Walton started game 5, along with Slava, and a 50 year old Horace Grant. That should not be happening.

    Dark times.

  • Rockwell

    Maybe Kobe is finally appreciating the championships he won with Shaq because he realizes he is running out of chances to win championships. Wish Kobe would have had that sort of humility back when they were playing together. Then him and Shaq could have had 10 championships together! Oh well, I guess Kobe had to know what it felt like to carry the team as “The Man” to become the player he is today.

  • Drig

    Except Shaq-Kobe was NOT AT ALL similar to LeBron-Wade. Shaq was the superstar. Kobe was the new kid on the block who was rapidly improving. LeBron and Wade were bonafide superstars who were close friends off the court when they came together. Kobe-Shaq NEVER had a healthy relationship off the court till they split. Part of it was due to Kobe’s introvert nature and part of it was because of Shaq didn’t give Kobe due credit in his post-game conferences till he forcibly grabbed that spotlight away from Shaq with his performances. LeBron’s quite liberal in dishing out credit.

    And then came Colarado and both going at each other’s throats…….

  • justin

    An he ould of done a lot morr if he stayed in shape an worked more.

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

    He was actually close to going to either Chicago or the Clippers, so either he would have been in LA or another big market in Chicago.

  • shockexchange

    Bandz make Horry Jr dance … with “exceptionally more talent than the rest of the L” he can win with no hands

  • LakeShow

    lmao. For me, better to make it and get embarrassed, than not make it all.

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

    Wade was definitely the new kid on the block when Shaq got to Miami. He had as much hype before Shaq as Damian Lilliard does this year, considering that he had only just finished his rookie season and had a stellar playoff run with Odom and Butler. People knew of him, and they knew he had potential, but people didn’t really know just how good he was until Shaq came around.

    Also, that Shaq Wade “friendship” deteriorated pretty fast after 2006. IIRC, Wade got sick of Shaq for the same reasons Kobe did.

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

    Shaq didn’t want out. He wanted management to let Kobe know that Shaq was still the alpha dog, and he wanted management to give him another big payday. The Lakers passed on both requests.
    Shaq is and was an egomaniac, but in this case he was accurate. If you have the most dominant post player in the entire world, you ride that horse until it dies. Period. When Wade and LeBron hooked up, Wade was a top five player in his own right and Bosh was probably top 10. But, everyone in the world understaood that LeBron had to be the alpha on that team for it to truly reach its potential.
    Kobe never accepted that, mainly because he was concerned with his final legacy. I contend that was not the best move. He should have played the game like Magic played it with Kareem and bided his time, in my opinion.

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

    I agree with your last point. Shaq always wears out his welcome.
    But, remember that Wade was up to 25 a game in year two. I just thought that needed to be noted.

  • z

    His posts are usually smart? The man is a blind Kobe groupie.

  • roscoe

    shaq & kb24 have a good relationship?

    “you’ve been fooled sucker” (MrT voice)

  • underdog

    27 / 11 / 3 / 2 you say? Those numbers are just ridiculous. I wonder when will we see another dominant center in this guard driven league.

  • KBM

    Ed Rush did some of those infamous games. But the L has loaded on the cover up, and nobody talks about that black eye anymore.

  • RKJ92

    No he was close to going to DALLAS.. not Chicago OR the Clippers — the trade to Dallas almost went through too

  • RedRum

    Kobe is a moron. He has 2 ‘real’ rings and Shaq has 3. You can only boast for your rings if you are 1A in your team. For the three-peat Shaq was 1A and Kobe 1B. Kobe was 1A for the two he won without Shaq. Wade was 1A for the 2006 Heat Chip. According to Kobe’s thinking then Robert Horry should be the GOAT, he has won 7 rings with three different teams (2 with Rockets, three with LA and 2 with SA)

  • http://www.facebook.com/michael.buchanan.3557 Michael Buchanan

    It’s such a fallacy that Shaq and Kobe could have won 7 or 8 championships if they had stayed together. The lakers should have lost in 02, they lost in the second round in 03, and were dominated in the finals in 04. Granted Kobe played the most ridiculously selfish series ever, but even if he played team ball they still only win 1 more game. Shaq was pretty much done as a legit great player by the 06 finals. He was dragging around the court the whole series. At best the lakers win 1 more title with those two.

  • Yi-Cheng Chen

    Well said. (on the part about having rings)

  • robb

    ummm, me too. Maybe that explains it.

  • RedRum

    I didnt say anything else!

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

    This is during the 2004 free agency. He had been looking at houses in Chicago, and was heavily leaning towards the Clippers. He’s said it multiple times in multiple interviews. You’re thinking of 2007 when he demanded a trade.

  • Yi-Cheng Chen

    Your first sentence was that something else but I am not going against it. lol.

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