Kobe Bryant first enjoy an NBA championship as the second option behind the great Shaquille O’Neal, when the Los Angeles Lakers chased down three NBA titles from 1999-2002. It seemed like the perfect pairing, although fans know the two stars could not stand each other before it all fell apart.
To this day, Kobe remains frustrated over the whole ordeal, explaining his gripes in a recent piece by the New Yorker.
“It used to drive me crazy that he was so lazy,” he tells the magazine. “You got to have the responsibility of working every single day. You can’t skate through (bleep).”
Kobe is an obsessive person, who prides himself on his craft. Shaq, however, never shared that type of work ethic. As the New Yorker explains, it got so bad between the two that Kobe would shun reporters he saw talking to O’Neal, while Shaq in turn refused to accept help from the same trainers who taped Bryant’s ankles.
“I was stubborn as a f*cking mule,” Kobe admits.
Yahoo points out that Kobe wasn’t wrong about Shaq’s laziness though. After all, despite being arguably the most dominant center in NBA history, he had just one MVP season in 1999-00. And why? Because he showed up to training camp that year in the best shape of his life. Every other season? Well, he’d work off the offseason rust during training camp and the season’s first few months. He eventually admitted that he’d only work off the weight and get into shape “on company time” in 2002… and lived by that motto through his post-MVP career.
“One can’t help but wonder how things would have turned out had O’Neal been more professional and had Bryant not acted like an only child forced to share his toys with other kids at the birthday party he thought was his,” writes Yahoo.
What do you think? If they worked together, could the duo of Kobe and Shaq been the greatest of all time? More rings and more MVPs?