The Highlight: Shaquille O'Neal says he knew Kobe Bryant would be great after they had a fist-fight at practice
The feud between former Los Angeles Lakers Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant hasn't quieted completely.
The pair have moved on professionally but you can still feel the tension when either of the NBA greats are forced to talk about the other.
"Shaq is just big and massive and forceful and he’s talking a lot of smack," said Bryant. "So he scores a basket, I tried to block it from behind and he scores it anyway, and he says, ‘You can’t get that you little b*tch.’ And I’m like ‘Wait hold up man. No no no you don’t talk to me like that.’ ‘What you gonna do about it?’ ‘Well what you gonna do about it?’ No kidding, we went to blows. Guys had to come break it up.'"
Reacting to the story on his podcast, O'Neal says the fight was a sign that Bryant was turning a corner.
"True," said O'Neal of the story. "However, from that incident I realized he was ready ... getting ready to be the player he was. When you talk about Kobe people just remember the [superstar] Kobe, but I remember the 'first three years' Kobe that we had to work with. 'No young fella.' We had to groom him to that. This happened probably the year before Phil [Jackson] came."
O'Neal says issues with Bryant were only made worse by Lakers assistant Kurt Rambis.
"There was one outside influence that helped tension on both sides, Kurt Rambis had the same agent as Kobe," O'Neal explained. "When Kurt came in and became the coach he was like, 'Forget you, Shaq. Kobe. Kobe. Kobe. You do it.' So I didn't really take kindly to that.
"He came in with a new playbook and it was all plays for Kobe. I was like, 'We're not doing that, Geraldo.' Yea, it was a true story."
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I Love This Game. The highs, the lows and the in between . These are the things that makes me feel alive as an athlete!— DWade (@DwyaneWade) October 23, 2017
Meek can do it all.
Works every time.
When you lose a bet.