When you talk about some of the best duos and dynasties in the history of the NBA, Kobe’s and Shaq’s run with the Lakers at the start of the 2000s must be at the top of every list. They managed to win three championships in a row from 2000 till 2002 and solidify themselves as some of the greatest players ever.
Kobe and Shaq were looking so good on the court together that it was hard to imagine what it would take to stop them. But, unfortunately, it turned out their relationship off the court was the tipping point, causing the infamous beef between the two that ended up in Shaq being traded to Miami in 2004. It left the question open of how many more championships Shaq and Kobe would have won if they stayed together.
Well, Shaq answered that question and spoke about what led to him being traded on the “All The Smoke” podcast with Stephen Jackson and Matt Barnes:
“Seven. Cause the reason why I got traded, it wasn’t me and Kobe beef, it was they wanted me to take less money… I got money, I had money. I just should have been like “Alright, I’ve raised you enough. It’s your team now. I know what I’m gonna do, I’m still gonna do my 28 and 10″… The ego still got me what I wanted, I still went to Miami, Pat took care of me, and I still won one. But I would have liked to stay there (Los Angeles) for the rest of my career.”Shaquille O’Neal, via All The Smoke
Shaq is pretty confident saying they would have won seven rings, but he has a good case, to be fair. Both Kobe and Shaq managed to snatch a few championships after they split up, so to say they could have won a few more together is a pretty reasonable statement. But the difference in the work ethic and how they viewed the game was too big for these two superstars, as Kobe prided himself in being one of the hardest workers ever, while Shaq took things lightly, relying on his good-given gifts to dominate. Nevertheless, if the two manage to click on the personal level, that Lakers team could have been amongst the best dynasties the NBA has ever seen.