“Kobe and Michael Jordan on the Same Team Is Unfair”: Shaquille O’Neal Sparks Another Debate Leaving NBA Fans Confused

Published 12/28/2022, 7:10 AM EST
Lakers Kobe Bryant bumps chests with Shaquille O’Neal after O’Neal got fouled scoring in the first half during the First Round of the Western Conference Playoffs at Staples Center Sunday April 21, 2002.Trailblazer Damon Stoudamire looks on from the left. Lakers won 95–87. (Photo by Gina Ferazzi/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

Shaquille O’Neal is well known to ruffle a few feathers in the NBA world every now and then. This time, he shared a viral picture of two imagined teams playing for a championship title. However, the legendary teams triggered a debate on social media. NBA fans were divided by this photo as it displayed a roster of NBA greats across the decades. Fans were seemingly puzzled by the choice of players on both teams.

The picture on Shaq’s Instagram had five veterans on one side and five active players on the other with a championship trophy in the middle.

Who teamed up with Shaquille O’Neal?


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On Shaq’s team, the photo shows Magic Johnson, Kobe Bryant, Michael Jordan, and Larry Bird. Fans reacted as they questioned the lineup. “Kobe and Michael Jordan on the same team is unfair“, one fan wrote. Their opponents were current NBA superstars Stephen Curry, LeBron James, Joel Embiid, Kevin Durant, and Giannis Antetokounmpo.

Lakers Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant celebrate after defeating the 76ers in Game 4 of the NBA Finals in Philadelphia Wednesday June 13, 2001. (Photo by Wally Skalij/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

Shaquille O’Neal captioned the photo, “They can get it too”. Undoubtedly, it was an enviable lineup from both teams.

While a few fans were excited about the teams, many were perplexed. Another person wrote, “I don’t think y’all winning this one, Shaq“. They also formulated how certain plays would take shape with both teams pitted against each other. A confused fan tried to calculate, “Shaq guards Embiid, who guards Giannis? Running downhill and dunking on Bird’s head.” Others also dreamed of the prospect of witnessing a series between all the GOATS.

Here are some more reactions from the comments section under Shaq’s post:

“Jordan, Bird, and Bryant = 3 guys who would rather lose a limb than lose a game. I’ll take their squad all day.”

“They would crush y’all.”

“God I’d love to watch that series.”

“Team LeBron winning better shooters.”

“Luka over Embiid, they don’t need 2 centers.”

Kobe Bryant and Michael Jordan could have been on the same team

In the early 2000s, a disagreement with Shaq led Kobe Bryant to think about the possibility to move away from the Los Angeles Lakers to the Washington Wizards. Kobe had always sought out Jordan for advice on basketball and life and could have potentially been on the same team as MJ.


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018634.SP.1101.lakers.AR The Los Angeles Lakers Shaquille O’Neal(left) and Kobe Bryant prior to game against Utah at the Staples Center on 11/1/00. (Photo by Anacleto Rapping/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

According to the Washington Post, “Bryant informed him [Michael Jordan] several times he wanted to play for the Wizards — under the assumption that Jordan would return to the front office once his playing days were over.

He confirmed that getting close access to Jordan would prove to be valuable. Witnessing both of them on the same team would have undoubtedly proved to be lethal for any opponents. Considering their insane competitive streak and commitment to excellence, the chances of them dominating the court would have been very high. As the Post recorded, “Much of Bryant’s style and so many of his mannerisms mirrored Jordan”. 


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Would Shaq’s dream team win against the superstars of today? Let us know your pick in the comments below.



Rekha Joly

386 articles

Rekha Joly is an NBA writer for EssentiallySports. She earned a triple major in English, Journalism, and Psychology from St. Joseph's College, Bangalore.

Edited By: Veer Badani