Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant are one of the greatest duos in NBA history. In the 2000’s, the dynamic duo won three championships in four NBA Finals appearances and many were left wondering how many they could have won if O’Neal was not traded in 2004 to the Miami Heat.
In an interview with Bill Simmons and Jalen Rose on Grantland, Kobe believes the duo could have ultimately won five or six championships together:
“We could’ve won five. We could’ve won six.”
While O’Neal and Bryant were able to sort out their differences and led the Lakers to three consecutive championships, the 2003-2004 NBA season proved to be too much for the duo. After losing to the Detroit Pistons in the Finals, O’Neal was traded to the Heat while Kobe was close to signing with the Los Angeles Clippers in free agency.
After both superstars were separated, O’Neal found success first with Dwyane Wade as they brought a championship to Miami in 2006. However, Kobe responded with back-to-back championships in three consecutive trips to the Finals with the help of Pau Gasol.
Although there was a lot of conflict during their time in Los Angeles, both have talked highly about each other as they have gotten older in their careers.[divide]