Why did Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant fight? Exploring the feud between two Lakers’ legends

Strong bonds among players do wonders on the court. On the contrary, a lack of mutual respect and solid understanding between players can lead the team astray. When it comes to the NBA, its history is filled with rivalries between players that went too far beyond the wooden court, the orange ball, and the metallic hoop.

Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant are one of the brightest stars of the NBA who ruled over the court together on behalf of the Lakers from 1996 to 2004. The pair achieved marvelous success as a strong pair who bagged three consecutive NBA Championships.

There was no lacking in their strategies as teammates; however, it is their feud for which their pair attained more attention. So, let’s find out more about Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant’s fight in terms of how it started and how did it end.

What was the reason Kobe Brant and Shaquille O’Neal couldn’t get along that led to their split?

In 1996, Kobe Bryant joined Los Angeles Lakers. And upon his arrival, Shaq expressed his ideas about the potential of the newcomer and mentioned that he would lead the Lakers to an unprecedented height in the NBA.

Everything was fine in the beginning and the duo showed their magic for three entire seasons in 2000, 2001, and 2002 winning the NBA Championships.

Kobe had always been very stubborn in terms of attaining success and left no stone unturned to do so. But in that case, Shaq was different, after successful seasons, he would spend relaxed times away from practices and training sessions when Kobe was toiling day and night to remain in shape.

Observing this attitude of the player, Kobe would confront him and advise him of the negative sides of such behavior. On the other hand, being the captain, Shaq was in no mode to be lectured by someone else and this is how the long-term rivalry began which became more intense with time.

Did they become friends later?

Years after the long-time rivalry, the players opened up about the fight and looked back on their own mistakes. During an interview years later after the feud started, they talked to each other about the things they should have done to avoid such a nasty phase of a relationship.

In 2020, when Kobe Bryant left the world for good in a plane crash, Shaq was one of the colleagues who came forward with expressing his feelings as soon as the news struck him. At Kobe’s funeral, the NBA star presented a long speech depicting the togetherness and on-the-court chemistry they shared.

Shaquille O'Neal

They indeed had a stressful relationship with each other but they overcame it as they had mutual respect becoming closest of friends.

Golenur Aktar

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Golenur Aktar is a writer and made her debut in the 'Pen & Paper' industry holding the hands of Sportszion. She ignited her writing craze from Biography articles and now writes about NFL.


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