What You DON'T Know About The Kobe & Shaq Rivalry In The NBA (Ft. Fights, Trash Talk, Coaches)
Kobe Bryant and Shaq have an NBA rivalry that involved a lot of trash talk and fighting. The first 1000 people who click the link will get 2 free months of Skillshare Premium: skl.sh/mjkallday3 #Kobe #NBA #Shaq
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And so in 1998, Kobe was becoming a popular player. This was Kobe’s first all-star season, the season that Kobe would have his iconic duel with Michael Jordan and be called the Next Jordan. Safe to say there was a lot of media frenzy over this 19 year old. So in a weird, not so weird turn of events, Kobe’s jersey sales went through the roof and actually surpassed Shaq and Shaq who was in his feels and reportedly jealous, called out Kobe for playing selfishly. However the coach at the time, Kurt Rambis, was partial towards Kobe. As Shaq grew impatient, Rambis preached more patience with Kobe. Kobe wanted to be the greatest player of all time right out the gate and so he was trying to expedite the process. While Shaq didn’t want to be a guinea pig or a sacrificial lamb in the process, because he was the best player in the NBA averaging 27 points and 11.5 rebounds in his first 3 seasons on the Lakers. Shaq was the leader, however he didn’t want to manage his teammates and responsibilities. This would lead to the lockout 1998-99 season which, uhhh, was an important turning point for these two. There would be a team scrimmage with Kobe and Shaq on opposite teams. And I’m just gonna let Kobe and Shaq describe this one. Yeah, Kobe and Shaq had a fight.
So yeah Shaq called Kobe selfish. In fact, he’s the one who started the rumors of Kobe being selfish to the point where it was just becoming part of Kobe’s reputation. What made it worse was that Phil Jackson, who became the coach in 1999, took a side, Shaq’s side, making the NBA rivalry worse.
Kobe’s career started to take off even further next year and he averaged 28.5 points next season. On top of that, there were reports that Shaq came into training camp out of shape which made Phil and Kobe both mad. Kobe had improved his game and assumed more responsibilities in the offense which would come at the expense of Shaq. At that point, Kobe was already one of the hardest workers in the NBA, he was serious. Shaq had more of a fun personality. He put in the work, but it didn’t meet Kobe’s standard. This time he waited till camp started to get surgery and had the famous quote “I got hurt on company time, so I'll rehab on company time,” Kobe, well Kobe was mad.
So while that decision loomed in the balance, that would tear his whole family apart and affect his play on the court, but it would also strain the relationship between his teammates and him. Phil also made it a point to alienate Jerry West from the team, kicking him out of locker rooms which would in turn further push Kobe from the team since West favored Kobe. On top of all that, Shaq wasn’t publicly supporting Kobe. Instead, Shaq was making statements such as the Lakers were his team and that the reason that Gary Payton and Karl Malone came to LA because of one player, himself. And then in October in an interview with Jim Gray, Kobe calls Shaq fat and lazy. Yeah and you would think that that’s not gonna go over so well. And you’d be right.
And in a preseason practice, Shaq is telling their teammates that he’s gonna blank him up. And when Kobe pulls up. And Shaq said this, “Hours earlier we had just promised our coach we'd stop. It was a truce broken. I let the guys know, ‘I'm going to kill him.“’ So when Kobe comes, “Kobe stands up and goes face-to-face with me and says, ‘You always said you're my big brother, you'd do anything for me, and then this Colorado thing happens and you never even called me,“ and that ‘Well, I thought you'd publicly support me, at least,' Kobe said. 'You're supposed to be my friend.
And so now the race was on, who would end up with more rings. We have to talk about the cheating scandal. While this whole sexual assault case was happening, Kobe told the police detectives quote “he should have done what Shaq does… that Shaq would pay his women not to say anything” and already had paid up to $1 million “for situations like this.”
In 2008, Shaq blamed Kobe for his marriage saying that “I’m a horse, Kobe ratted me out, that’s why I’m getting divorced.”
So yeah Kobe gave the MVP trophy to Shaq’s son and for Shaq, it was a sort of realization to put the pettiness aside. Shaq would congratulate Kobe when he won his 5th championship, Kobe would say that he had one more than Shaq.
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