Once Accused of Being Selfish by Kobe Bryant, Shaquille O’Neal Shows Remarkable New Side With Alter Ego

Published 02/04/2024, 9:35 PM EST

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Prophet Diesel strikes! Shaquille O’Neal switched to his DJ Diesel X page to give the unsaid perspective about competition. And the 4x champion knows competition. He was sort of infamous for it from the days he was on the same team with Kobe Bryant. He’s now channeling the lessons learned in the NBA into the dubstep space.

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Stop comparing yourself to other people. Believe me I understand competition and it’s ok to be competitive, but no one has ever won a championship by themself. You gotta lock in,” he wrote.

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Such motivational messages aren’t new from Shaq. Fans also chimed in they needed to hear these inspiring words during a bleak time. After all, a good few are still reeling after Elmo’s innocent query.

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O’Neal, though, didn’t provide context on what prompted this, especially on the DJ Diesel account. Shaq’s more magnanimous in this space. He doesn’t chase clout but actually worked his way up the trap music scene on his own merit. Moreover, he’s provided a platform to more rising EDM talent with collaborations, bringing them on his festival appearances and launching his own festival, Bass All-Stars.

For many, the line, “Believe me I understand competition,” reminds them of prime Shaq. And what Kobe Bryant said about him.

Kobe Bryant took a backseat to Shaq

With the Shaq-Kobe-led Lakers dynasty came tension between the star duo. Both repeatedly said they were two headstrong personalities clashing, though they were dismissive of a real conflict. Through the Lakers’ three-peat, Bryant’s frustration at being secondary to Shaq was at its peak.

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In 2003, Shaq commented that the young Kobe was not a team player. Bryant clapped back in another interview: “That’s ridiculous. I have been successfully sacrificing my game for years for Shaq.” He added that Coach Phil Jackson would advise him to do that.

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Kobe also added that Shaq would get upset when he was not at the center of the team offense, forcing him to take a backseat. “Last year Phil told me Shaq was not in physical condition to carry the thrust of our offense, so he asked me to do it. But then he saw Shaq was getting upset that the team wasn’t running through him, so Phil asked me to pull back and I did.

They both joined the Lakers in 1996. Bryant claimed in the eight years they were teammates, they would cancel each other out. But Shaq’s apparent selfishness and competitive drive made Jackson ask Bryant to step back for the success of the team.

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Despite their intense personalities clashing as teammates, they were fiercely like-minded about winning. It came to a head after O’Neal went to Miami Heat in 2004 and Bryant sought to prove himself as a leader in Big Diesel’s absence. The stat sheet proves that Bryant started dominating when Shaq wasn’t around.

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Written by:

Caroline John

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One take at a time

I was 7 when I saw 'Space Jam' but didn't know till the third rewatch the lead actor is actually a living basketball legend. It was while studying journalism that my friend would go on about the Warriors from Golden State. Keen on athletes' personas outside their arenas, it was Stephen Curry's confidence and philanthropy that drew me to follow the news on NBA pros and explore sports media.
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Edited by:

Vishav

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