“Kobe Bryant wouldn’t talk to press guys Shaq spoke with and vice versa”: Phil Jackson explained the ‘child-like’ animosity between Bryant and O’Neal on the Lakers

Phil Jackson broke down the ‘child-like’ bickering that took place between Kobe Bryant and Shaq when on the Los Angeles Lakers. 

Kobe Bryant and Shaq had perhaps one of the most interesting rivalries in the NBA and the peak of this rivalry was when they were on the same team; something that is quite unprecedented on a professional sports team. Despite their clear differences, the two led the Los Angeles Lakers to the NBA championship three years straight. 

Their animosity for one another stemmed from things that weren’t all too secretive or niche. The basic point of contention between the two was both wanting to be the number one option on offense for the purple and gold because they both possessed the talent to be that person.

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Shaq of course, was the Batman to Kobe’s Robin during those championship runs, especially during the 2000 season. The big-man would start to raise issues with Kobe’s shot selection and overall selfishness on the court as time went on and given the Philly native’s demeanor, he didn’t back down. 

Everything from arguments to nearly fighting each other at practice, Kobe Bryant and Shaq did not like each other when on the Lakers. 

Phil Jackson on Kobe Bryant and Shaq. 

In a sit-down with John Salley many years back, Phil Jackson opened up about what most NBA fans already know about. He claimed that both Kobe Bryant and Shaq indulged in ‘child-like’ bickering and even went as far as to not associate themselves with people who the other associated themselves with.

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“Things would sway back and forth between the two. One would get taped by one trainer and the other one wouldn’t go to that trainer; he would have to have his own trainer. One group had a series of press guys they’d talk to and the other guy wouldn’t talk to those press guys.” 

Shaq has provided fans with an interesting piece of information as of late. He would admit on the NELK boys podcast last year that him and Kobe would play up their feud for the public to garner more attention and increase marketability. 

According to him, the two wouldn’t have been able to win that that high of a level fr as long as they did if they truly had a level of animosity towards one another. 

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