Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal weren’t exactly the best of friends during their time playing together for the Lakers. In spite of the potency of their “one-two punch”, which produced three championships, the power struggle between the two eventually came to a head, and O’Neal was traded to the Miami Heat in 2004.
Ultimately, it was a personality conflict that did the duo in, as Kobe’s obsessive, driven nature didn’t mesh with Shaq’s fun-loving ways.
It appears, however, that time does indeed heal all wounds. O’Neal has campaigned for Bryant to join him on TNT’s “Inside the NBA”, and according to a recent TMZ report, Bryant may start training Shaq’s son, Shareef. The younger O’Neal gave a brief interview in Beverly Hills, during which he stated:
“(Bryant) was telling me I need to train with him … I’m going to probably start training with him this summer.”
The two crossed paths at the All-Star game in Toronto back in February. Shareef O’Neal is a 6’8″ power forward at Windward School in Los Angeles and has been linked to both UCLA and USC. He won’t graduate until 2018, but training with Bryant certainly won’t hurt as he prepares to make the leap to college.
Shareef also spoke about how Bryant’s relationship with his father has improved since their playing days:
“They don’t have a problem with each other; they’re cool. They call each other, they text each other.”
In some ways, it’s poetic, as it was Bryant’s obsessive nature and training regimen that helped caused the rift with Shaq. Now that both men are older and wiser those same qualities will help O’Neal’s son develop as a player.
While Lakers fans were often frustrated by the inability of the two superstars to get along, it is great to hear that their past squabbles have faded away as they move into the next phase of their careers.