Alright so I was listening to our guys Gillie and Wallo talk with Shaq, because why wouldn't you. Obviously one of the biggest stories with Shaq is his relationship with Kobe from his playing days to the Lakers and after. If you're my age (33) you remember that entire era from growing together to dominating the league to the fighting to Shaq ultimately leaving for Miami in a trade. But I found this quote he dropped real eye-opening.
“At some point the student must get rid of the master to become the master. So I understand the business. It was his turn to shine by himself.”
That's 100% accurate. We all remember the 2004 Finals when Shaq and Kobe really fucked up. The Pistons were taking away Shaq and daring Kobe to make certain decisions. He tried to take over the game which is exactly what the Pistons wanted. They were perfect defensively. That led to this. You had to make a decision at that point, no matter how dominant they were together as a duo, that it was either going to be Shaq's team or Kobe's team. It made sense to lean towards Kobe as the younger player and the versatility on the offensive side vs a traditional big.
Now Shaq also went on to say there really wasn't a beef. They were brothers.
“Ya’ll think we had beef right? After I won the first championship who ran and jumped into my arms? When he sprained his ankle and couldn’t walk from the bus to the locker room who carried him? I got a little brother, cousin, we do this all the time, but the respect for us is always there. So people always say ‘what would you have done different?’ I wouldn’t do nothing different cause we won 3 out of 4. I ain’t the smartest guy, but that’s 75 percent.”
Don't get me wrong there was beef for sure. You don't make a song called Kobe how my ass taste and there not be any beef. There's not a story of a brawl in practice between the two of you without any sort of animosity.
And I agree with Shaq. Who knows what would have happened if he stayed with the Lakers. You have two alpha guys with one really in his prime in Kobe. Can he become the go-to guy with Shaq still there like he did with Pau? Sometimes there needs to be a change of scenery for a team to grow again. That's what Kobe needed. I also agree with him about the beef. We don't know what all happened behind the scenes when it was going down. Shit, this was practically pre-Internet. This was Internet 1.0. Everything we heard was all a rumor and trying to figure out where the source was as you heard it on TV or read it in a paper.
What is terrifying is if Shaq decided to be even more dominant. He even admits he only used about 25 percent of his talent.
“People only got to see 25 percent of my game. I’m Giannis before Giannis. As you know I’m the first big cat to take that thing off the rim, coast-to-coast with style. When I came in I already knew I was the fifth best center. Already knew that.”
He's not wrong. The dude was a fucking freak when he was younger.
The Kobe/Shaq thing will always be interesting for me. We get so caught up in dynasties and potential dynasties that you don't realize how quick it can be over. We're seeing that with the Warriors who might have it all over because of injuries. But for Kobe/Shaq it was allowing Kobe to become the master.
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