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That time Shaq offered J.R. Rider $10k to fight Kobe in practice

Shaq & Kobe (1)

Most NBA fans know about Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal’s feud during their time with the Los Angeles Lakers. Even though they were one of the most dominant teams in NBA history, there were evident frictions within the group between their two best players. The main reason was the opposite mindset and personality these players had towards basketball. Isaiah Rider, who played with the Lakers for one season, made a guest appearance on the All The Smoke Podcast, where he shared a story when Shaq offered him $10,000 in cash if he fights Kobe in practice.

Following quite a few successful seasons scoring-wise for the Minnesota Timberwolves, Portland Trailblazers, and the Atlanta Hawks, Rider accepted a supporting role from the bench when playing for the Lakers. He also mentioned Kobe wanted to play him on-on-one immediately when he joined the Lakers, while Shaq offered him cash to fight Kobe just three days after he joined the team.

“When I first get to the Lakers, Shaq tells me, if you and Kobe get into it, it’s 10 G’s in the locker. This is three days into practice… I’m like, ‘Man, come on, you playing, man.’ ‘There’s 10 G’s in one-dollar bills, if you ever get into it and you handle your business, grab that. I couldn’t believe it, I’m like ‘Man, these boys are crazy, bro’…But this is my thing: I would’ve been off that team so fast if I laid a hand on that man.””

J.R. Rider, via All The Smoke

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Rider was smart enough not to accept that challenge because, as he said, the Lakers would get rid of him in a heartbeat. Shaq and Kobe had their share of differences after winning their first championship together, and their conflict led to Shaq leaving the Lakers in 2004. They would eventually squash their beef and restore the friendship that initially ignited their championship run. In almost every interview nowadays, you can hear Shaq talk about Kobe with the utmost respect and passion for what he did and the legacy they built together as teammates.


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