At this point it is one of the most well-known stories in all of NBA history that Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal had their fair share of issues while with the Los Angeles Lakers. Despite that, they obviously experienced a ton of success as well.
One of the reasons that they were able to overcome their issues and become champions was the amount of respect they had for each other. Regardless of whether they liked each other all of the time they were teammates, the respect was always there and that allowed Shaq and Kobe to come together on the court.
Shaq recently spoke about this as he appeared on Oprah’s Master Class on the OWN Network. In the video Shaq revealed that he would do nothing different in his time with the Lakers as he and Kobe won three championships and made four NBA Finals appearances together.
He also spoke about that respect and why he knew Kobe always respected him, reflecting on their first Lakers title run in 2000.
During their fourth quarter comeback in Game 7 of the Western Conference Finals against the Portland Trail Blazers, Shaq recalls telling Kobe that he was open and Kobe assuring him that he knew it. This, of course, led to the famous Kobe-to-Shaq alley-oop that more or less completed the comeback.
Shaq would point to a couple of other moments as proof of the respect the two had for each other and why respect is so important, not only in basketball but in all facets of life.
The success the Shaq and Kobe had while with the Lakers was truly outstanding and respect had a lot to do with that, regardless of their issues. They overcame them and now Kobe’s jersey is set to join Shaq’s hanging in the rafters at Staples Center.
Be sure to check out the full episode of Oprah’s Master Class featuring Shaquille O’Neal when it airs on Saturday, September 16 at 10 PM.