Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Shaq Tells All About Why He and Kobe Bryant Fought


It's no secret that Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O'Neal do not like each other.  From 2003 to 2007 the feud between the two NBA superstars ruled the television airwaves.  After 2007 the two men seemingly put their differences aside, for the good of the NBA, but from time to time the fans were still exposed to bad battle raps, and thinly veiled insults during interviews.

Now with Shaq retired from the NBA, and heading to the announcers booth, O'Neal felt it was time to pen a tell all book.  The new biography which is co-written by Jackie MacMullan is set to hit stores soon, and the portions of the book that have hit the internet are sure to make headlines.  One thing is apparent Shaq is not done with his feud with Kobe Bryant.

So I'm on edge because I don't have a new deal, and Kobe is on edge because he might be going to jail, so we're taking it out on each other. Just before the start of the '03-'04 season the coaching staff called us in and said, "No more public sparring or you'll get fined." ... Phil was tired of it. Karl Malone and Gary Payton were sick of it. ... So what happens? Immediately after that Kobe runs right out to Jim Gray and does this interview where he lets me have it. He said I was fat and out of shape. He said I was milking my toe injury for more time off, and the injury wasn't even that serious. (Yeah, right. It only ended my damn career.) He said I was "lobbying for a contract extension when we have two Hall of Famers playing pretty much for free." I'm sitting there watching this interview and I'm gonna explode. Hours earlier we had just promised our coach we'd stop. It was a truce broken. I let the guys know, "I'm going to kill him."
Kobe stands up and goes face-to-face with me and says, "You always said you're my big brother, you'd do anything for me, and then this Colorado thing happens and you never even called me." I did call him. ... So here we are now, and we find out he really was hurt that we didn't stand behind him. That was something new. I didn't think he gave a rat's ass about us either way. "Well, I thought you'd publicly support me, at least," Kobe said. "You're supposed to be my friend."
Brian Shaw chimed in with "Kobe, why would you think that? Shaq had all these parties and you never showed up for any of them. We invited you to dinner on the road and you didn't come. Shaq invited you to his wedding and you weren't there. Then you got married and didn't invite any of us. And now you are in the middle of this problem, this sensitive situation, and now you want all of us to step up for you. We don't even know you." ...
Everyone was starting to calm down when I told Kobe, "If you ever say anything like what you said to Jim Gray ever again, I will kill you."
Kobe shrugged and said, "Whatever."
[...]
From that day on, I was done dealing with Kobe. I was done dealing with Jim Gray, too. What goes around, comes around. When he got fired, he actually had the nerve to call me and ask me to help him out. What, did you lose Kobe's number?

 Shaq goes on to add;
He was so young and so immature in some ways, but I can tell you this: everything Kobe is doing now, he told me all the way back then he was going to do it. We were sitting on the bus once and he told me, "I'm going to be the number one scorer for the Lakers, I'm going to win five or six championships, and I'm going to be the best player in the game." I was like, "Okay, whatever." Then he looked me right in the eye and said, "I'm going to be the Will Smith of the NBA."
My first Lakers season we had a couple of rookies, and we hazed them pretty badly. We were dogging them out constantly. It was "Go get my bags, go get me something to eat." It was kind of a rite of passage in the NBA that a lot of teams do, but we probably went a little too far with it. One of the rookies—Derek Fisher(notes)—just took it. The other rookie—Kobe Bryant—ratted us out to Jerry West.
It's pretty obvious that this feud is nowhere near an ending.  One thing is for sure, Shaq knows how to snag a few headlines, and with stories about the rivalry between himself and Kobe, this new tell all is sure to move a few copies. 

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