It is no secret that former Los Angeles Lakers teammates Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal did not see eye to eye on everything when they played together.
Their personalities often clashed as O’Neal liked to have fun, while Bryant was all business as he was only concerned with winning.
They were able to put their differences aside for a while, and won three consecutive NBA Championships from 2000-02, but their displeasure towards each other mounted over the years and ultimately wound up ending one of the most dominant duos in NBA history, as O’Neal was traded to the Miami Heat after the Lakers were defeated by the Detroit Pistons in the 2004 Finals.
Over a decade later the two are back to being friends, as Bryant recently spoke at O’Neal’s statue unveiling outside of Staples Center, and O’Neal was present at Bryant’s final game last April.
A former teammates of theirs, Dennis Rodman, recently talked about what it was like playing with Bryant and O’Neal, and according to Rodman it was less than pleasant, via James Herbert of CBS Sports:
“So I start playing, right, we won 10 games in a row,” Rodman said. “Ten games in a row when I got there, right? I said, ‘Jerry, I gotta take a break.’ One reason: Shaq and Kobe. I couldn’t deal with those [expletives]. I’m not going to lie to you: I couldn’t deal with them. I’m like, ‘Oh my God, I’m not used to this,’ right? I’m used to winning, but I can’t deal with these [expletives expletive-ing] every [expletive] game. Like, [expletive]. I mean, every, I’m like, [expletive], we’re winning, what? So I go and I say … ‘I’m so used to having calm and serenity and stuff like that.’”
Rodman, who is known for being a bit crazy himself, only played 23 games with the Lakers in the 1998-99 season, so it did not take long for him to be fed up with the two stars arguing.
Hearing that things were that bad between the two stars in 1998, before they won the three championships, makes it even more impressive that they were able to put their differences aside for as long as they did, although it did end up being the demise of one of the best eras of Laker basketball ever.