Kobe sent a dart Shaq’s way some time ago when he said they could’ve won 10 titles if Shaq stayed in shape and was dedicated to basketball as much as Kobe was. That was obvious hyperbole, a reminder Kobe and Shaq will always have some back and forth going. But it did resurface an interesting question. How much did their bad blood disturb their playoff performance?
As the veteran of the team and the most dominant player ever, Shaq was the focal point of the Lakers. Young Kobe was coming on to the scene and wanted more of the offense to go through him. Especially given the fact that Kobe dedicated everything to basketball. At the same time, Shaq was making movies and rap albums in the summer and would work his way into shape through the regular season. But how many would Shaq and Kobe win if they managed to stay locked in mentally? Here’s how Kobe sees it.
“San Antonio wasKobe Bryant, All The Smoke
toughman; they were tough. When the playoffs came around, it wasn’t like Shaq, and I weren’ton the same page. When the playoffs came around, we were always on the same page. We just got beat. The bigger question should be: how many would we had won if the Spurs weren’t the Spurs?”
Kobe pointed out that the Spurs were “a perfect storm” of talent, coaching and everything you need to win, particularly Tim Duncan’s game at the time. The Spurs and Lakers were the rivalry on the West for the ’00s. Other teams would pop-up for a year or two, but these two organizations marked the Western Conference and the NBA in the 2000s.
“If they weren’t in the picture we probably would’ve run ten in a row. They probably say the same thing about us.”Kobe Bryant, All The Smoke
Again, a decade of winning is hyperbole, but it shows how highly Kobe thinks of the Spurs and Tim Duncan. While most people think if he and Shaq managed to work together, it would’ve been a done deal, Kobe knows they had an equal in the Spurs.