Kobe Bryant might have torn the stitches of an old wound he thought was closed for good. It’s been fifteen years since Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal dominated the NBA together as teammates, but apparently, still, have time to take shots at one another.
Once Kobe gets to talking about basketball, he doesn’t hold punches at all. Case in point, during an interview with Valuetainment founder Patrick Bet-David, the future Hall of Famer was asked what would O’Neal be if he had his work ethic? The Black Mamba whos disdain for Shaq’s approach to staying top physical shape is no secret didn’t hold back claiming the big man’s laziness preventing Kobe from winning 12 chips possibly.
“I wish he was in the gym. I would’ve had f—ing 12 rings. My God, yeah. Wouldn’t even be close.”
Bryant then went on to add:
“He’d be the greatest of all time. He’d be the first to tell you that, for sure. This guy was a force like I have never seen. It was crazy. Generally, guys at that size are a little timid, and they don’t want to be tall, they don’t want to be big. Man, this dude, he did not care. He was mean, he was nasty, he was competitive, he was vindictive.”
Of course, Shaq didn’t take to kindly to Kobe’s jab at him and clapped back on Instagram, despite Bryant saying “he tells O’Neal all the time.”
“U woulda had twelve if u passed the ball more especially in the finals against the pistons #facts. You don’t get statues by not working hard.”
Bryant’s ribbing of Shaq didn’t stop there. He also shared a story of how 18-year-old Kobe went as far to stop passing O’Neal the ball during a game in Phoenix because he would get fouled all the time. It is well known that Shaq’s Achillies heel was the free-throw line. In true Kobe fashion, he kept shooting instead of honoring The Diesel’s request to get him the ball in the paint.
Man, f–k that, get it off the rebound if I miss, bro.Eighteen years old, and I must’ve been out of my damn mind.”
We would have gotten some fantastic content if Chuck, Kenny, and Ernie asked Shaq about this on their NBA on TNT pre and post-game show. You can watch the entire interview below.
Photo: JOHN RUTHROFF / Getty