‘It Was a Clear Signal That We Were Done’
In 1972, the United States was on the verge of a new era. The Vietnam War had ended and Nixon was about to be re-elected. But then a group of students at Kent State University in Ohio took a stand against the government.
The how long did shaq and kobe play together is a question that has been asked many times. Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant played together for 18 seasons, which was the longest time they played on the same team.
When the Los Angeles Lakers lost in the 2004 NBA Finals against the Detroit Pistons, it signaled the end of a dynasty. Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant were partnered together for the last time in that series, with Phil Jackson guiding from the bench.
With two players who couldn’t play together any longer, LA was forced to make its most difficult choice yet. Do they retain O’Neal, a three-time Finals MVP in his 30s, or Bryant, a brilliant scorer still in his prime? We all know who the Lakers retained, thanks to Shaq’s account of the moment he realized his time with the Purple and Gold was over.
The connection between Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant could not be healed.
The Los Angeles Lakers’ Shaq and Kobe era produced three titles and many memories. Winning, however, did not make the relationship between the two stars any more enjoyable. When LA fell in the Finals to Detroit, one of them refused to play if the other was still on the squad.
Bryant spoke with Jackson shortly after the defeat to the Pistons, according to Jeff Pearlman’s book Three Ring Circus: Kobe, Shaq, Phil, and the Crazy Years of the Lakers Dynasty. The nine-time champion coach said that he intended to retire, but that the Kobe-Shaq combination could continue without him. That was immediately shot down by the great guard.
Bryant stated, “I’ve been doing it for eight years with [Shaq].” “However, I’m sick of being a sidekick.”
By no means was it a one-sided hate. In an interview with ESPN’s Jim Gray, Kobe expressed all of his bad emotions against Shaq. O’Neal was so enraged by it that he informed his Lakers teammates, “I’m going to murder him.”
O’Neal deduced that the Lakers preferred Bryant over him.
The Los Angeles Lakers’ Shaquille O’Neal (left) and Kobe Bryant (right). | AFP/PAUL BUCK/Getty Images
Despite the fact that there was little cause to rejoice, Lakers owner Jerry Buss threw a party soon after the Finals ended. Other players that attended the event with their spouses were O’Neal and Bryant, as well as Gary Payton, Derek Fisher, and Rick Fox. Until Buss came, it seemed like a regular party. When the longstanding owner arrived, he walked straight to Bryant’s table to speak with him and his wife Vanessa, ignoring O’Neal’s table only a few feet away.
In Three Ring Circus, O’Neal stated, “I call it the Godfather reign.” “You’ve got this elderly godfather who’s been around for a long time. You’ve got this young man who is planning, planning, planning. Pop! Pop! Pop! Pop! Pop! Pop! Pop! Pop! Pop! Pop! Pop! Pop! Pop! Pop! Pop! Pop! Pop! Pop! Pop! Pop! Pop You’re going to pop him. And it was during that party that I was busted. Jerry spoke with Kobe and his wife before departing.”
O’Neal was taken aback by Buss’ choice to solely recognize the Bryants. Shaq and his wife Shaunie departed the party when the owner left Bryant’s table (h/t: Three Ring Circus).
“It was a clear indication that we were finished….” That do you adore when you have two dogs — this championship dog who is growing older and this puppy who is trailing behind the old dog? You seem to adore the puppy.”
Shaquille O’Neal is a basketball player who plays for the Los Angeles Lakers.
O’Neal was on the team charter flight returning to Los Angeles the following morning. Bryant, on the other hand, traveled back on Buss’ private aircraft.
The Los Angeles Lakers made the correct choice in keeping Kobe Bryant over Shaquille O’Neal.
After that night, Shaq’s instincts was spot on. O’Neal was purchased by the Miami Heat in exchange for Lamar Odom, Caron Butler, Brian Grant, and two draft choices shortly after. Bryant re-signed with the Lakers the following day as an unrestricted free agent for $136 million over seven years.
At first, it seemed like O’Neal would get the final laugh. In 2006, the Heat defeated the Dallas Mavericks in the NBA Finals, earning the big man his fourth ring. With back-to-back championships in 2009 and 2010, Bryant finally climbed over his old comrade and rival. In addition, the Black Mamba would go on to become the Lakers’ all-time leading scorer.
Who’s to say the Lakers wouldn’t win another ring if they selected Shaq, who was 32 at the time? It’s reasonable to wonder whether Dwyane Wade and the Heat will win a ring as well. Look no farther than the Clippers if we’re talking about teams whose fortunes might have been dramatically altered. Until O’Neal left town, Bryant was ready to sign with LA’s other club.
Clearly, things worked out for both Kobe and Shaq in the end. Despite the fact that the big man’s last moments with the Lakers were far from ideal.
Basketball Reference provided all statistics, while Spotrac provided contract numbers.
Shaquille O’Neal only attempted 22 3-pointers in his career, yet he gave advice to a player who had attempted over 3,600: ‘Just leave it up there,’ says the narrator.
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