Kobe Bryant Says Shaquille O’Neal’s Laziness Drove Him Crazy

by March 25, 2014

Los Angeles Lakers superstar Kobe Bryant is the subject of a long, fascinating profile in the current issue of the New Yorker.

In it, Bean opens up about everything from the twilight of his NBA career, last season’s remarkable play (Kobe says he was playing his best basketball ever before his left Achilles tendon was shredded), his legendary partnership and personal battles with Shaquille O’Neal, and even offers his thoughts on pop stars Katy Perry and Justin Bieber.

Per LA Observed and Lakers Nation:

Kobe Bryant is in what he calls “the last chapter” of his career. “Twenty years is a long time, man,” Bryant says, adding that he is “fairly certain” that, when his contract expires in the summer of 2016, he’ll be done with professional play. Insisting that last season, before he suffered a debilitating injury to his Achilles tendon, “was the best basketball I’ve played in my entire career,” Bryant has vowed to defy skeptics, with a strong finish. “The thing that I think people don’t understand when they talk about Father Time, and they look at my injuries,” he says, is “they’re equating that to others who have come before me.” The next challenge lies in “doing something that a majority of people think that us athletes can’t do, which is retire and be great at something else,” Bryant says, adding, “Giorgio Armani didn’t start Armani until he was forty. Forty! There’s such a life ahead.”


Bryant continues: “I get questions all the time: ‘What are you going to do when you retire?’ As if I had no life, no talent outside of playing basketball. It absolutely drives me crazy. ‘You just going to golf all day?’ I’m, like, ‘No. Who the fuck said that?’ It’s maddening.” Mitch Kupchak, the Lakers’ general manager, says that he’d love for Bryant to one day be a coach, “just to try it for a year, whether it’s at the D-league level, or if his daughters play high-school basketball. And then, like, everything will crystallize to him—like, Holy mackerel! What was I thinking?”


Phil Jackson, the on-again, off-again coach who is responsible for all five of the Lakers’ recent championships, says, in the midst of a dismal season, Bryant “just wants to play for something,” adding, “He doesn’t want a farewell tour for Kobe Bryant.”