The feud between Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal has been very well known. The two superstars had won three championships together, but they had grown apart due to various issues. It came to a point when both superstars didn’t want to play with each other. The Los Angeles Lakers then traded Shaq to Miami and offered Kobe a 6-year contract. One of their former teammates now gives his thoughts on what happened.
Gary Payton was on the Lakers in 2004, the last year Kobe and Shaq were teammates. This team was stacked as it also included Karl Malone. But the feud had almost reached its peak this year, and that affected their team play. Later in the year, the Lakers got their act together and reached the Finals that year. But the Detroit Pistons upset them in 5 games and both Kobe and Shaq underperformed.
Payton says that the issues were affecting the team and he and Malone tried to calm things down. But by then it was already too late, and the Lakers decided they need to make a change.
Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal wanted to fight each other
Gary Payton was recently asked in an interview was there any tension between the duo. He says “That was where everything got crazy because when you hear something about somebody and then you get it in second hand you go make a song and you make that about it when you don’t understand what really happened by going to the guy and do it.”
“I think that was the whole big deal about that its because they never talked. It was always somebody hearing something about this well he said this and then you see it in the media and all of a sudden they fued, now they wanted to fight each other and that’s how it was and that’s why I think it was good for me and Karl to be on the team at the time”
Even though they tried to work it out, the duo failed to repair the relationship. Payton says that was the time when the Lakers felt they needed to make a change. He also says that Kobe wanted to go on his own and the team made a decision to keep Kobe and trade Shaq. Even though their relationship improved over time and they reconciled with each other, the Lakers will feel like they could have won a lot more if these stalwarts had worked their issues out.