RARE: Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant At The White House During President George Bush’s Tenure

Published 11/25/2021, 11:30 AM EST
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)


The Los Angeles Lakers fans have preserved a special relationship with Kobe Bryant. Various NBA legends have played for the Lakers, but Kobe’s relationship with Lakers fans remains a unique one. He played for the franchise alongside another NBA legend in Shaquille O’Neal. A recent photo shows the duo pictured at an important US historical site.

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The recent photo surfaced on Twitter in a post by ‘Timeless Sports’. Andrew D. Bernstein, a photographer, clicked the photo of the Lakers duo posing stylishly at the White House. The 2002 photo shows Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal posing in front of a portrait in a White House room.

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Kobe and O’Neal were at the White House to meet then US President George Bush. The duo had just won the 2002 NBA championship title with the Lakers. A famous US tradition witnesses the President inviting every season’s NBA champions to the White House.

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Kobe and O’Neal had guided the Lakers to a championship that season against the New Jersey Nets. The Lakers won the NBA finals that season by sweeping the Nets 4-0. The 2002 win sealed their three-peat NBA run, which started with their initial NBA title in 2000. O’Neal was named the NBA MVP for the 2002 Finals.

The Lakers signed Kobe from the Charlotte Hornets in 1996 to a contract totaling $3.5 million. Subsequently, Kobe led the Lakers alongside O’Neal to the franchise’s historic three-peat at the start of the 2000s. O’Neal left the Lakers in 2004 over reported disagreements with Kobe. Meanwhile, Kobe once again led the Lakers to back-to-back NBA titles in 2009 and 2010.

Kobe Bryant guides the Lakers to a win against the Raptors with his 81-point game

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Kobe Bryant has enthralled Los Angeles Lakers fans with MVP performances throughout his career. However, Lakers fans will never forget the 81-point performance that he dropped against the Toronto Raptors. His performance that day holds the record for the second-highest total in NBA history.

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA JANUARY 29, 2013-Lakers Kobe Bryant bites his jersey while Pau Gasol shoots a free throw at the Staples Center Tuesday. (Photo by Wally Skalij/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

The game witnessed an outstanding third-quarter performance by Kobe. A deficit of 18 points had paralyzed the Lakers. However, Kobe came clutch and scored 27 points in the third quarter. Kobe added 28 points for the Lakers in the fourth quarter. The Lakers dominated the third quarter with Kobe’s guidance as they concluded the third quarter by scoring 38-14 against the Raptors.

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January 22, 2006, is remembered fondly by Lakers fans because of Kobe’s display of his talismanic abilities that day.

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Shalom Saldanha

151 articles

Shalom Saldanha is an NBA writer at EssentiallySports. Currently pursuing his journalism degree, he has previously worked as a sports corresspondent for India Shorts/Business Upturn. A Giannis Antetokounmpo and Bucks fan, Shalom primarily got into the sport after discovering that he shared a mutual love for Arsenal with the 'Greek Freak'.

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