Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal feuded during their championship-winning tenure with the Los Angeles Lakers, eventually ending in O’Neal being traded to the Miami Heat after the 2004 NBA Finals.
But the two greats apparently came to blows long before their relationship began to deteriorate.
Bryant and O’Neal discussed their time together in a “Players Only” special on TNT on Saturday, and the Black Mamba revealed the first time he and The Big Aristotle threw fists at each other.
“I think I can remember the first we had our first fight,” Bryant said. “And you looked at me and said, ‘this (expletive) is crazy.’
“We were playing a pick-up game, it was during the lockout season (1998-1999). Southwest College, we were playing a pickup game. We were on opposite teams, and trash-talking. And you kept saying ‘yeah, take that little (expletive). Take that little (expletive).’
“I’m looking around, ‘oh (expletive), he’s talking to me.’ I said ‘well hold on, ain’t going to be too many more of those ‘little (expletives).’ And what’d you say? ‘Well, what you going to do about it?’ The next thing I knew I saw a big hand coming this way, and I remember going (the other way) and I remember throwing some lollipop (expletive) and then they all just kind of broke us apart.”
But the five-time NBA champion admitted that fight was a catalyst for the success they would later have in LA.
“I’m looking at this and I’m saying ‘man, he wants this thing. It affects him. It consumes him.’ And then from that moment on I knew we spoke the same language.”
Bryant and O’Neal won three titles together and arguably were the most dominant duo in NBA history, and a pick-up game fistfight helped ignite their dynasty.
Thumbnail photo via Kirby Lee/USA TODAY Sports Images
Powered by WordPress.com VIP