Kobe’s interview with Patrick Bet-David re-opened the Pandora’s box of Kobe vs. Shaq. The two superstars buried the hatchet, but it seems the conflict of characters will never go away. As Shaq put it, they are both alphas, and that will never change.
It all started with Kobe saying he would’ve had 12 rings if Shaq had his dedication and stayed in shape (the fitness thing is true). Then Shaq responded by saying they would’ve won more if Kobe passed the ball more (also true). Both players made valid points, and now we are learning how far the issue went.
Raja Bell shared a story about Shaq. Bell and Shaq played together in Phoenix. Another teammate of theirs was Gordan Giriček; you probably remember the story of Shaq choking a guy out before the game – Giriček is the guy. Giriček was a scorer, and if he got the ball, he was rarely passing it back. So Shaq brought back a solution from his Kobe days. (via Kanell and Bell” podcast)
“But Shaq started saying ‘hey guys, this is the symbol’ (twitches thumbs downward) ‘when I give you this, Gordon doesn’t get the ball anymore.’ And I’m like ‘dude what is the background on that, where’d you come up with that?’ And he was like ‘when Kobe was young, he would be going in and just trying to get ’em, so the rest of us had a universal kind of code that if we looked at each other and went (gives signal) then that meant Kobe didn’t get the ball anymore.”
Teams have their ways of internal discipline, and this not uncommon on a basketball court. But, we all know this didn’t work on Kobe so Shaq probably should’ve tried a different approach to get through to young Kobe.
It probably wouldn’t work either way.