Kobe Bryant Abusing Lakers Teammates Incited Strong Reaction From Shaquille O’Neal on Live TV in Unearthed Footage

Published 05/21/2022, 11:30 PM EDT
Lakers Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal sit on the bench with foul trouble against the Timberwolves in Game 6 of the Western Conference Finals at Staples Center Monday. (Photo by Wally Skalij/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant played together for the LA Lakers for 8 years from 1996 to 2004. During their time together, they won 3 NBA championships. And it was a three-peat from 2000 to 2002. But it is well documented that Kobe and Shaq had feuds throughout their time together in Los Angeles.

Kobe was one of the fiercest competitors ever. He had an obsession with being better and winning at all costs. And he expected nothing less from his teammates. So he had constantly pushed them to be better than they were every day. This could have rubbed off from being in a brotherly friendship with Michael Jordan, who went to great lengths to get the best out of his teammates.

NEW YORK, NY – DECEMBER 06: Shaquille O’Neal appears to promote “Toys for Tots” during the AOL BUILD Series at AOL HQ on December 6, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Donna Ward/Getty Images)

But not many would approve of this style of motivation. And after a video of Kobe talking trash to his teammates during an open practice was released, TNT’s “Inside the NBA” crew gave their verdict. And Shaq didn’t agree with what Kobe did. He said that he wouldn’t say the things Kobe said in front of cameras.

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Shaquille O’Neal gives his verdict

Ernie asked the crew whether Kobe was trying to light a fire under his teammates to play better or it was just frustration. The Lakers had a record of 6 wins and 16 losses at that point of the season. And Kenny gave his honest answer. He said that with his Rockets team, things like these happened twice or three times a month. 

But Ernie pointed out that Shaq had a grin on his face and asked him about it. Shaq said that he was just waiting for Barkley to answer. But when Kenny asked whether Kobe talked like that to Shaq, he couldn’t control his laughter. 

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Then Barkley shared his thoughts, joking that Kobe wasn’t trying to light a fire under them to motivate. He joked that the Lakers were so bad and that he should burn the building instead. The crew broke out laughing and Shaq cried his eyes out laughing.

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Then it was O’Neal’s turn and Kenny asked whether he has had incidents like these. And Shaq said, “Yeah all the time. But I never call my teammates soft while the camera’s on. Maybe like, when it’s just us doing what we doing in practice, yeah, you know you go at it.”

Kobe’s feud with Shaq is no secret to the NBA fans. But gladly, they patched things up later on.

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Bagavathi Eswaran

194 articles

Bagavathi Eswaran is an NBA writer at EssentiallySports. He has been playing the game of basketball for more than 20 years now and has also been following the NBA for more than 10 years. After not being able to go pro, this former college player decided to join the IT industry.

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