Bryant played with O’Neal in the Lakers from 1996 to 2004 and they won three consecutive NBA Championships together. The bitter feud they had in the past appeared to have ended in 2016, when Shaq called Kobe the “greatest Laker ever” but Bryant was at the PHP Agency Convention in Las Vegas recently, speaking on stage with Patrick Bet-David and when asked what would have happened if O’Neal had his work ethic he said:
“He’d be the greatest of all-time. 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. They don’t want to be tall. This dude did not care. He was mean. He was nasty. He was competitive. He was vindictive.”
Kobe was actually paying Shaq a great compliment but then he said: “I wish he was in the gym. I would’ve had 12 f****** rings!”
Shaquille O’Neal was not going to let Kobe Bryant suggest that he should have worked harder in the gym and the posted the following in the comments section of an official Instagram post on @Lakers24Ever: “You don’t get statues by not working hard” and “u woulda had twelve if u passed the ball more especially in the finals against the pistons.”
The Pistons beat the Lakers 4-1 to win the NBA Finals in 2004 and in the offseason Shaq demanded to be traded because he felt that the Lakers were making moves designed primarily to placate Bryant: “The direction they’re going… I don’t want to be a part of this.” O’Neal would be traded to the Heat for Lamar Odom, Caron Butler, Brian Grant and a first-round draft pick.
The internet exploded with the rumors of Kobe and Shaq renewing their feud but Bryan shut down the rumors tweeting: “There is no beef with @SHAQ I know most media want to see it but it ain’t gonna happen. Ain’t nothin but love there and we too old to beef anyway #3peat”
Shaq then replied: “It’s all good bro, when I saw the interview, I thought you were talking about Dwite, is that how u spell his name lol”
This was Kobe’s reaction to Shaq’s reply: