The best moments from Shaquille O'Neal's compelling interview with Kobe Bryant

Yahoo Sports
Shaquille O’Neal reacts to his former players seated in the audience with Kobe Bryant looking on during unveiling of his statue at Staples Center March 24, 2017, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
Shaquille O’Neal reacts to his former players seated in the audience with Kobe Bryant looking on during unveiling of his statue at Staples Center March 24, 2017, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal had one of the most complicated relationships in NBA history.

As dominant as the two were together on the court, their relationship was tumultuous off the court and ultimately led to their split in the form the trade that sent O’Neal to the Miami Heat. But as the years went by, the feud simmered down considerably to the point where the two are on good terms.

The good vibes culminated into a TNT segment Saturday night during All-Star Weekend with O’Neal interviewing Bryant. There were a lot of good moments during the piece, but one part got a little emotional.

O’Neal blamed himself for their partnership dissolving. Their time with the Lakers lasted eight years and included three straight NBA titles. It could have been better and O’Neal said he had a moment of realization after they were named co-MVPs of the 2009 All-Star Game.


Bryant told O’Neal to take the MVP trophy home, where O’Neal gave it to his son, Shareef.

“You told me to take the trophy home and I took it home and gave it to Shareef. And I realized I may have messed something up,” O’Neal said. “A lot of times that our beef was going on, you know me. I’m the master marketer. I would just say it to keep it going. But when you did that when you didn’t have to do that, 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]. But thank you for that moment. Shareef loved that moment. I was going through a lot at the time. He loves you for it, and I love you for that moment. So thank you.”

That’s good stuff. But that was just the cap on a bunch of interesting tidbits sprinkled throughout the interview.

The two discussed the summer of 2004 when O’Neal was traded to Miami and Bryant signed a seven-year deal to stay in Los Angeles the day after the trade. Before then, O’Neal sought an extension from the Lakers — something that would not have sat well with Bryant. It got to the point that Bryant, then a free agent, and his wife actually went out to Chicago to look at homes.


Other highlights included Bryant and O’Neal reminiscing about their first fight:


Mooning Sacramento Kings fans:


Pondering how the 2001 Lakers team would stack up against the 1991 Bulls (Shaq’s comment about his hypothetical matchup with Bill Cartwright is hysterical):


And Kobe’s love for Shaq’s infamous rap:


– – – – – – –

Sam Cooper is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him or follow him on Twitter!

More NBA on Yahoo Sports:

What to Read Next

Back