The relationship between Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal during their respective careers with the Los Angeles Lakers was undoubtedly a contentious one at times. Obviously they had plenty of success, but there were well-known disagreements as well.
Sometimes things went beyond just arguments and into physical altercations between the two. That doesn’t come as much of a surprise, as when dealing with very prideful, headstrong personalities like Shaq and Kobe, that can be the case.
The two recalled one of those times in a recent Players Only interview. Kobe, with colorful language, spoke about the first fight the two had, via the NBA on TNT Twitter account:
“I think I can remember the first time we had our first fight. You looked and you said, ‘OK, this mother——— is crazy.’ It was during the lockout season, Southwest College, we’re playing a pickup game and we’re on opposite teams. And trash-talking, you kept saying, ‘Yeah, take that, little b——. Take that, little b——.’ I’m looking around, ‘Oh, s——, he’s talking to me.’ I said, ‘Hold on. There ain’t going to be too many more of those.’ And what did you say, ‘Well what you going to do about it?’ And the next thing I knew I saw a big hand coming.”
It is all too common for trash-talking to escalate into something more and this happened to be one of those cases. For Kobe to be willing to physically challenge someone the size of Shaq certainly says something about his mindset, and as Shaq said, was pretty crazy.
However, Kobe also noted that the incident really opened his eyes about how focused Shaq was and how much winning meant to him, ultimately giving the two something of a connection. In the end, the two would experience a ton of success together so regardless of any fights or confrontations, they worked.
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