Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal might have the most infamous beef in NBA history. They were one of the most dominant duos we’ve ever seen on a basketball court and we haven’t really seen anything like them since.
Their run was cut short because of their feud, but they still won three consecutive titles and had one of the most dominant runs in league history. On Saturday night, we saw them sit down and reconcile their differences. Here are the best moments from that conversation.
Kobe was really going to be a Chicago Bull because of Shaq
Shaq was looking for an extension from the Lakers before he was traded to the Heat, but the beef between he and Bryant had gotten so big that, had the Lakers extended their big man, Bryant would’ve demanded a trade to the Bulls.
O’Neal: “So that was true, you were going to the Bulls?”
Bryant: “Yeah. There was a story in ESPN, I think ESPN magazine. And they asked you a question about me and Penny [Hardaway]. And you said we were essentially the same. And I looked at that and I said, ‘Uh, no, we’re not.’
O’Neal: I think you took that the wrong way because of all the misquotes and all the bad stuff.
Bryant: I probably did, and I probably used it as motivation, too.
This has lived on as one of the most infamous rumors ever, but it also first surfaced in 2007. We hadn’t known that Bryant thought he was going to be a Bull in 2004.
The Lakers moved on from O’Neal and the rest is history, but man, Bryant being traded in his prime would’ve been a huge moment.
Shaq said it’s his fault he and Kobe’s run didn’t last longer
After every breakup, there’s always a moment of reflection where you look back and see what you did wrong. Shaq apparently had that moment at the 2009 All-Star game when they won co-MVP’s.
“You gave [Shareef O’Neal] the trophy. And I said to myself ‘Luckily, I won three out of four with this guy. But I was an [expletive] to this guy. So, I owe you an apology. I’m going to give you an apology, but we don’t need to be doing all of that crying like Magic [Johnson] and Isiah [Thomas],” O’Neal said. “But thank you for that moment. That was the first time I was able to give him something from his dad. I was going through a lot at the time. He loves you for it, and I love you for it.”
What a moment.
Kobe loved Shaq’s “Tell me how my ass tastes” rap
Seriously. He said he was here for it.
Bryant: “I loved it. I loved every bit of it.”
O’Neal: “That was in a comedy. And y’all had lost. I just had to do something just to keep the club going.”
Bryant: “Bruh, listen, I know. I know. I used it though.”
MY CHEST. There’s no way Bryant actually loved this. He was probably fuming which makes it 10 times funnier.
Years later, it’s water under the bridge. But in that moment, those two absolutely were still feuding.
Kobe “absolutely” made it a goal to get more rings than Shaq
O’Neal: “When we split apart, were you trying to get more championships than me?”
Bryant: “Absolutely. Absolutely. And I knew you were going to get one, because of the energy going to Miami and D-Wade. So I knew you were going to get that one. So I knew I had to get at least two or three.”
And when he finally did, he did this.
I’m pretty sure Bryant wrote the book on petty in the NBA. This is golden.
We didn’t get the run we wanted from Bryant and O’Neal — there was so much left on the table. But seeing them talk about their moments together was awesome. We may never see anything like them together again, but that’s fine. This is more than enough.