Kobe Bryant has more than a slight reputation for getting under peoples’ skin. That was exactly what Boston Celtics top brass was betting on when they signed Shaquille O’Neal this summer.
After winning his fifth NBA championship, Bryant made light of his sudden superiority over O’Neal.
“I just got one more than Shaq,” Kobe said. ”You can take that to the bank. You know how I am, I don’t forget anything.”
O’Neal and Bryant outwardly have appeared to have made up since Shaq left Los Angeles — looking friendly in front of the camera — but that might not be the entire truth.
Shaq made no secret of the fact that he wanted to come to Boston this summer. On some level, that may have been because it would give him an opportunity to tie or even surpass Bryant’s five rings while playing for the Lakers’ archrivals.
Celtics owner Wyc Grousbeck bet on exactly that notion, and Danny Ainge agreed, The Boston Globe reports.
“The minute I heard Kobe [Bryant] say he had one more ring than Shaq, I said to Danny, ‘Let’s go get Shaq,’ and it happened,” Grousbeck told the Globe.
The rest is history. Whether O’Neal can get back at Bryant remains to be seen.
NESN.com will showcase one Moment of Shaq every day until the Celtics open the season against the Heat on Oct. 26 at the TD Garden.
Sept. 19: Shaq feuds for cash.