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“I just should have called” - Shaquille O’Neal regrets not reaching out to Kobe Bryant often before his death

Shaq has a lesson we should all learn from. “Call your mom. Call your brother. Call the homeboy you used to party with in college. Forever is a long time”
Kobe Bryant speaks during ceremony to unveil statue of Los Angeles Lakers former center Shaquille O'Neal

Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O'Neal

Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant went through it all together. They were teammates, brothers who won 3 championships together, then enemies when they separated. By the end of their careers, Shaq and Kobe eventually squashed their beef and remained on good terms. After all, their dominant championship run will always link them together, and both legends knew that they wouldn't have gotten where they did if it weren't for each other.

But Shaq has one regret.

When Kobe and Shaq retired, O'Neal admitted that they, unfortunately, didn't stay in touch with each other. They exchanged messages now and then, but both Lakers greats were too occupied living their own lives post-retirement. That's why O'Neal admitted that his biggest regret regarding his relationship with Kobe is that he wished he had called him up on the phone more often when he got the chance.

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"I'll never get to see Kobe again, in real life, forever. And I just should have called. He should have called. We both should have called…Call your mom. Call your brother. Call the homeboy you used to party with in college. Forever is a long time," O'Neal told People Magazine. "[I thought], we're both going to get old. We'll both be at the 50-year Lakers anniversary. Other things shouldn't have been more important [than getting in touch], but little things [got in the way]."

A complex but powerful relationship

Bryant and O'Neal may have never been best friends but what was interesting and so great about their partnership was how they managed to put their differences aside (at least for a couple of seasons) and orchestrate one of the most dominant championships runs in sports history. That's what was so unique about their bond, and it only speaks volumes about how tremendous their individual talent was.

"Kobe and I pushed one another to play some of the greatest basketball of all time… And, yes, sometimes, like immature kids, we argued, we fought, we bantered or insulted each other with off-handed remarks," O'Neal continued. "But make no mistake, even when folks thought we were on bad terms, when the cameras were turned off, he and I would throw a wink at each other and say, 'Let's go whoop some ass.'"

Ultimately, it's not the messy breakup nor the drama that went down during their time together that O'Neal regrets, but more so the fact that he didn't stay in touch with his running mate after they went their separate ways. It shows that our time in this life is short and bigger than basketball. 

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