The Kobe-Shaq feud during their time together on the Los Angeles Lakers has been well documented. Although both players were arguably one of the best duos in NBA history, the superstar pairing simply couldn't get along after winning three straight titles. Hall of Fame head coach Phil Jackson witnessed the rift first-hand and said the following about feud according to Sean Highkin of USA Today on Feb. 28:
After winning three straight titles with the Los Angeles Lakers from 2000 to 2002, O’Neal and Bryant had a famous falling out, and Jackson pointed to their personalities as a cause.
“Shaq had a clown role he had to play,” he said. “So that was part of the rift.”
Jackson also talked about the work ethic of Michael Jordan, Kobe and Shaq. Unfortunately, Jackson felt as if Shaq's work ethic was sorely lacking in comparison to Jordan and Kobe via Highkin:
“Shaq didn’t work at it,” Jackson said. “Michael was able to succeed despite all kinds of limitations in his game. He couldn’t hit an outside shot. He couldn’t defend. But all of that went away because of his work ethic. Kobe saw that as a pinnacle that he had to reach, and he took it to a whole new level.”
Lakers fans can only fantasize about what could have been if Shaq was on the same page as Kobe in terms of work ethic. Shaq went on to win one more title with the Miami Heat while Kobe won two more with the Lakers.
Although it appears unlikely, Kobe might be able to win a sixth ring before he calls it a career. Kobe has two more years on his deal, but the Lakers are currently one of the worst teams in the Western Conference. The five-time NBA champion as he can only watch from the sidelines while dealing with a knee injury that has kept him out the majority of the season since returning from the ruptured Achilles.
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