Shaquille O’Neal Once Described Rift With Kobe Bryant: “John Lennon and Paul McCartney Bumped Heads All the Time. But They Were One of the Greatest Acts of All Time”

Published 12/26/2021, 10:00 AM EST
Lakers Kobe Bryant, left, celebrates his 48 points with Shaquille O’Neal after defeating the Kings in Game 4 of the Western Conference Semifinals at the Arco Arena in Sacramento. (Photo by Wally Skalij/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)


Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant are Lakers legends as they guided the team to become a dominant force in the league. However, despite sharing so much success on the court, they had their off-court problems because of their personal differences over many things. They won a three-peat with the Lakers in the early 2000s and etched their name in the history books.

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Shaq has been open about his relationship with Kobe. Their feud started in the early 2000s due to some differences between them. Later it escalated, and they spoke about it in the media. However, after Shaq’s departure from the Lakers, their feud de-escalated a bit.

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As years passed, their relationship improved, and they became very close. In an old interview, Shaq admitted that he bumped heads with Kobe off the court, but reiterated that they had a good relationship on the court.

Shaquille O’Neal compares feud with Kobe Bryant with the Beatles

An old video of Shaquille O’Neal has been trending on YouTube Shorts. In the clip, Shaq admitted that he had a perfect on-court relationship with Kobe. He even compared his feud with John Lennon and Paul McCartney’s rift.

“Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal on the court had a perfect relationship. Off the court, at times we bumped heads,” Shaq said.

“One of my professors, he did this thesis on the Beatles and I read it. And I never knew that John Lennon and Paul McCartney had problems. They bumped heads all the time. But guess what? They’re one of the greatest acts of all time. And the crazy thing about it is we would only go back at each other through the media. That’s what a lot of people don’t realize. Kobe’s guy was Jim Gray. So he’d say something to Jim and Jim would say it on TV. My guy was Jim Hill. After we win the championship, who jumps in my arms?”

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Shaq left the Lakers in 2004 after eight successful seasons.

Kobe also signed with LA Clippers, but later re-signed with the Lakers. He ended his career with five championships and completed 20 years at the Staples Center.

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After Shaq’s retirement, the duo made amends and became close. Kobe even became close to Shaq’s son, Shareef. Shaq continues to respect Kobe and always speaks highly of him.

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Abhishek Singh

425 articles

Abhishek is an NBA writer at EssentiallySports with over two years of journalistic experience with Chase Your Sport and Dribl. A Football Management graduate, he has previously interned in the Indian Super League, I-League and the AFC Champions League. In addition to being a Michael Jordan fan, Abhishek is an ardent Steph Curry and Warriors guy, and believes they have a few more championships in store before the former retires.

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