Shaquille O’Neal was inducted into the NBA Hall of Fame last week, and he accepted the honor in typical Shaq fashion. He was also met by congratulatory messages from left and right from fans, coaches and teammates, except for one former Laker—Kobe Bryant.
Last Friday, as news about Shaq’s enshrinement was already buzzing, someone asked “Has Kobe reached out?” to which O’Neal answered “No.” Here’s a Tweet from Boston reporter Jay King about O’Neal and Bryant.
It’s safe to say Kobe and Shaq never really had an amicable relationship while the two players were in LA. Despite leading the team to a three peat from 2000-02, the two stars were often seen fighting and squabbling on and off the court. Eventually, Shaq was shipped to Miami in 2004 and would win one more ring, while Kobe would win two more with the Lakers and finish his entire NBA career there.
Though more than 10 years after Shaq and Kobe separated and went their own NBA lives, the latter still seemed to be carrying a grudge against the former, probably because Shaq made it clear before the start of the 2003 season that he actually wanted to “murder” Bryant.
Kobe Bryant congratulates Shaquille O’Neal
Thankfully (and hopefully), Kobe has let bygones be bygones, congratulating Shaq via Instagram about the Hall of Fame induction. He even called O’Neal his “big brother” in what could be the sweetest thing Bryant has said to and about his former teammate. See his Instagram post below.
Apparently, Kobe was just waiting. Waiting for what Shaq had to say, maybe? Or waiting until he found the perfect photo that could encapsulate everything that he wanted to tell Shaquille O’Neal? Nonetheless, it’s been quite an NBA ride with the two players, and the league will remain changed (for the better) by the impact that they have had for a very long time.
Photo Courtesy: Alexandra Walt/ Flickr