Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant don’t plan on resurrecting one of the NBA’s greatest fights.
The Los Angeles Lakers legends squashed their old beef Wednesday, just hours after it threatened to erupt for the first time in ages. Bryant raised eyebrows when a snippet of comments he made about O’Neal’s work ethic last week in Las Vegas at the PHP Convention came to the fore.
“He’d be the greatest of all time,” Bryant said, per CBS Sports’ Chris Bengel. “He’d be the first to tell you that. This guy was a force like I have never seen. It was crazy. Generally, guys at that size are a little timid and they don’t want to be big. This dude did not care. He was mean, he was nasty. He was competitive. He was vindictive. I wish he was in the gym. I would’ve had (expletive) 12 rings.”
O’Neal responded Wednesday via Instagram:
“U woulda had twelve if u passed the ball more especially in the finals against the pistons #facts,” he wrote. “You don’t get statues by not working hard.”
As NBA drama-lovers geared up for a renewal of a war-of-words, O’Neal and Bryant put down their proverbial knives via Twitter.
O’Neal and Bryant led the Lakers to three consecutive NBA championships between 2000 and 2002. However, their relationship grew increasingly rocky, and O’Neal demanded a trade after the Lakers lost to the Detroit Pistons in the 2004 NBA Finals. The Lakers obliged that summer, sending O’Neal to the Miami Heat and breaking up one of the greatest duos in history.
Most assumed the Shaq vs. Kobe feud ended in the passing years, but a few holdouts received a glimmer of hope Wednesday. That is until the friends-turned-foes, turned friends again and shut it down decisively.
Thumbnail photo via Kirby Lee/USA TODAY Sports Images