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

by April 02, 2013

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.'”