Despite being arguably the most dominant player in NBA history, there are many who still believe that Los Angeles Lakers legend Shaquille O’Neal could have been even better had he worked harder throughout his career. This includes his former teammate, the late, great Kobe Bryant.
In a previous interview, Kobe said that Shaq would have been the greatest NBA player ever had the big man had Bryant’s work ethic. This only furthered the idea that O’Neal simply didn’t work hard enough to accomplish everything he could have.
But O’Neal himself has his own idea of things. In his own appearance on the same platform, The PBD Podcast, O’Neal says he would have still been Shaq with Kobe’s work ethic while pointing out the difference in where they were in their life at the time:
“I would’ve been Shaq. Kobe was a beast, nobody works harder than him. But I think you can find success in many ways. You know for me I had to; 8 hours of work, 8 hours of business, 8 hours of family. See Kobe was just getting married and getting into his family, I’m already 4 kids in. So after I put in my 2-3 hours of work, now I have to be Daddy, now I have to be husband, now I have to take care of business. And mentally I’m so strong I don’t need to workout for these bums anyway, that’s what I’m thinking. So I think it would’ve been a better question if we had no championships, no MVPs and I would’ve been an absolute failure. But the resume you just read, that was a hellu of a resume, sir.”
There is no doubt that Shaq and Kobe were at two completely different points in life at the time. Kobe didn’t get married until 2001 and his first child was born in 2003, so he was able to completely dedicate everything he had to basketball. O’Neal had three kids by the time Bryant had his first, with his fourth coming just a couple of months after Natalia was born.
But most important was that Shaq was extremely successful regardless and is universally considered one of the greatest to ever play the game. His jersey was retired by three different NBA teams and he even has a statue outside of Crypto.com Arena. No matter what way you cut it, Shaquille O’Neal will always be Shaquille O’Neal.
O’Neal believes Westbrook showed ‘too much respect’ on Lakers last season
Shaq brought three NBA Championships to the Lakers in his time with Kobe, but when it comes to the current era of purple and gold, O’Neal still has hope that the group can come together. And when it comes to Russell Westbrook, Shaq has a different viewpoint altogether.
O’Neal believes Westbrook showed ‘too much respect’ and deferred too much to LeBron James and Anthony Davis in his attempt to fit in. Whether that changes under new coach Darvin Ham and his role in that system remains to be seen.
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