Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal were not exactly pleasant to one another during their shared tenure with the Los Angeles Lakers, despite winning three NBA Championships together.
The two superstars opened up about their former feud in an upcoming podcast “The Big Podcast with Shaq,” expressing regret over their clashes on and off the court.
Shaq attributed much of the feud to simple heat-of-the-moment flare-ups.
“A lot of stuff was said out of the heat of the moment,” O’Neal said in an excerpt from the podcast that was played on ESPN Radio on Wednesday (h/t ESPN.com). “I guarantee I don’t remember a lot of stuff that they said, because I changed my thought process of, you know what, we won three out of four, what the hell are you all talking about? This is not really even a story.”
Bryant, on the other hand, attributes the verbal altercations on his youth.
“Here’s the thing, though. When you say it at the time, you actually mean it, and then when you get older you have more perspective, and you’re like holy s—. I was an idiot when I was a kid.
He also mentioned his regret over the fact that the media was involved in any of the arguments and noted it did put undue pressure on the organization.
“…it did kind of create this whirlwind around us as a team with myself and Shaq and the press and the media that just put so much pressure on us as an organization.”
It does appear these old teammates have buried the hatchet after all these years. They did comprise a dynamic duo that helped the Lakers win three consecutive NBA titles, which has immortalized them together in the eyes of history.
Bryant now has the tall task of bringing Los Angeles back to the forefront of the NBA’s playoff picture after seeing the franchise descend into utter mediocrity the past two seasons. He’ll need all his talent and wisdom to help his young, talented team learn how to play together in the brutal Western Conference.