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"You didn't respect people that you could bully": Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal fondly remembered their first practice together
2024/04/21

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Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal are arguably the best one-two punch in the history of the NBA

‘The Big Diesel’ was selected as the 1st overall pick back in the 1992 NBA draft by the Orlando Magic.

After spending four years with the team and establishing himself as one of the best players in the league, O’Neal signed as a free agent with the in 1996 – a career defining move.

He was recruited by none other than Lakers GM Jerry West who was a big fan of Shaq’s game.

Prior to getting O’Neal to sign with the Lakers, West had his eyes on a 17-year old basketball player who he believed would be the future of the franchise – ‘The Black Mamba’ .

Bryant was selected as the 13th overall pick in the 1996 NBA draft by the Charlotte Hornets but was immediately traded to the Lakers in exchange for their starting center Vlade Divac.

This would in turn free up salary cap space to sign Shaquille O’Neal thus pairing two players that would go on to dominate the league in the years to come and win multiple championships together.

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Unfortunately, things would take a turn for the worse during the duo’s last year together in which they simply did not get along and the news of their beef became the talk of the town.

O’Neal was eventually traded to the Miami Heat and Bryant re-signed with the Lakers.

In 2018, Shaq and Kobe sat down for a 1-on-1 interview in which they fondly remembered their playing days

It was great seeing the two former teammates and buddies chatting with one another, laughing and remembering the good old days.

Kobe recalled their first practice in which the Lakers had a player on their roster named Travis Knight who was also a rookie. “annihilate this kid and you know just from everything from talking trash to him to you know he was afraid to get on the bus”, Kobe told Shaq.

“One thing I noticed about you from the jump was that you didn’t respect people that you could bully”. 

It’s no secret that Shaq and Kobe were the two of the most intense superstars to ever step foot on a basketball court.

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