Kobe Bryant and his beef with Shaquille O’Neal was one of the biggest talking points in early 2000s basketball. This was only accentuated by the circumstances under which Shaq left LA for Miami and won a ring there. Due to this trade, many felt Shaq was the problem against the more personable Kobe.
However, the author of “Three-Ring Circus: Kobe, Shaq, Phil, and the Crazy Years of the Lakers Dynasty” Jeff Pearlman spoke to Dan Patrick about how he viewed the beef. He gave an interesting story to show how Kobe got off on the wrong foot with everyone.
“I do think the root of the Shaq-Kobe troubles kinda go on Kobe. You know he arrived for his first team meeting in 1996, in Hawaii. Everyone has gathered around and the coach Dell Harris is like ‘alright everybody, let’s do some quick introductions’. Like ‘Hey I am Nick Van Exel from Cincinnati, or hey I’m Eddie Jone’. Kobe went ‘yo my name is Kobe Bryant, Lower Marion. Nobody here is going to punk me’. That did not go over well.”
Pearlman also talks about how the issues between the two may have stemmed from Shaq wanting Kobe to be like a little brother, a role the aloof Kobe rejected vehemently.
Is Kobe Bryant to blame for Shaq beef?
Even if Kobe Bryant may have given a cold welcome to everyone on the team, Shaq did his fair share to instigate Kobe. He took a bunch of shots towards Kobe, before retiring as well as after retiring. However, Shaq had revealed that he and Kobe had mended their relationship when Kobe was retiring. While they never became friends, they had squashed the negativity.
Shaq was personally affected by Kobe’s passing earlier this year, especially due to the bond Kobe had with his son Shareef O’Neal. It makes everyone happy to know that both men got to mend fences before the tragedy that took Kobe away from us.
Whether or not Kobe was the one to initiate the feud with Shaq, both men would probably go back in time and give their partnership another go. After all, if two men can hate each other and three-peat, imagine what they can do if they liked each other?