Illustrious sports reporter Jim Gray has been involved with the NBA for a few decades now. In his notable career, he had the opportunity to interview and build relationships with numerous NBA legends. He recently made a guest appearance on All The Smoke podcast where he talked about Kobe and Shaq’s relationship, especially during their three-peat when they were the most dominant duo in NBA.
Even though their time together had many highs, Gray remembers it also reaching all-time lows when things got heated between the two. That turn of events eventually caused immense friction in their relationship, which resulted in Shaq getting traded. According to Gray, Kobe’s mindset was so focused on winning he didn’t care what nobody thinks, and he put success above everything.
One thing about Kobe is that he was myopic, and he just wanted to win. If you were in his way as an opponent, he got you out of the way. If you were on his way as a teammate, guess what he treated you the same way, he got you out of the way.Jim Gray, via All The Smoke
Gray remembers his famous interview with Kobe, in which he was actively criticizing Shaq and his behavior towards the team. As we all know, Kobe was frustrated at Shaq because he didn’t put effort into getting in shape and being focused on the ultimate goal, which in Kobe’s mind was an NBA championship. In that specific interview, Kobe called out Shaq, describing him to a guy working at a 7-Eleven store, which didn’t sit well with Shaq after Gray told him.
The one statement that we took out and I said Kobe; we are editing this out because I have to had a relationship with Shaq. He said that a guy selling donuts at the 7-Eleven had more pride in his job than Shaq did. This is the same interview in which he called him out for being fat, lazy and that he got surgery on the organization’s time and he would do it on company time instead of his time while he wasn’t ready for the season.Jim Gray, via All The Smoke
The interesting thing about this story is that Gray didn’t feel like publishing that part of the interview in which Kobe spoke his mind about how he feels towards Shaq. After he talked with Shaq about it, Shaq was mad and didn’t even talk to Gray for a couple of years, thinking he betrayed his trust.
Shaq didn’t want to respond, and then it came out, and he threatened to kill Kobe the next day. In fact, they put in a metal detector over there, and Kobe jumped up and said, let’s fight. I called Shaq to respond to the interview, which he never did, but for the next 2-3 years, he called me ‘Traitor Gray’, here comes Traitor Gray, and he wouldn’t want to talk to me.Jim Gray, via All The Smoke
Despite the animosity between the two that lasted for several years, they buried the hatchet as they got older and wiser. Both of them realized they were acting immature at that time because of their egos and knew they could’ve done much more together if things have had worked out. As Gray mentions in the interview, they had an incredible run together. We were able to witness firsthand one of the best duos in NBA history when they ruled the league for a few years, leaving a mark that will never be forgotten, especially by the Lakers fans worldwide.