It’s no secret that Kobe and Shaq had a less than stellar relationship, at least from the outside looking in.
Kobe brought to light an incident from early in his career with Shaq on The Hollywood Reporter’s Awards Chatter podcast.
“I think our relationship can be summed up before Phil even arrived, which was during a pick-up game. We’re competing and I wasn’t backing down. We’re on opposite teams and we’re going at it right. Shaq is just big and massive and forceful and he’s talking a lot of smack. So he scores a basket, I tried to block it from behind and he scores it anyway, and he says, ‘You can’t get that you little b*tch.’
And I’m like ‘Wait hold up man. No no no you don’t talk to me like that.’
‘What you gonna do about it?’
‘Well what you gonna do about it?’
No kidding, we went to blows. Guys had to come break it up. So they’re looking at me like ‘Dude are you out of your mind.’ I’m like ‘Well, dude, you can’t let that happen. No. He’s just going to have to knock my head off but he’s gotta know there’s going to be a fight every time.’
That’s how our relationship was, one that was built on respect but one that was built on challenge. And constantly challenging each other. And our relationship brought three championships.”
This quote is fascinating to me. Two of the greatest athletes of all time going at it with each other off camera is something I wish we were able to see. It’s clear from this quote that both of these guys were incredibly competitive, but it seems like the relationship worked, considering they did win a few rings together.
Say what you will about the Kobe-Shaq beef, but I think this story brings new light onto an age old rivalry that is more like a friendship than anything else.