Shaquille O’Neal relied more on natural talent than hard work throughout his Hall of Fame NBA career. When you’re 7-foot-1 and 325 pounds, the game tends to come to you. Kobe Bryant, on the other hand, is a perfectionist. It’s no secret that the difference in work ethic between Shaq and Kobe contributed to the demise of their relationship.
During a recent interview with Ben McGrath of the New Yorker, Bryant reiterated that he did not approve of the level of effort — or lack thereof — that Shaq put forth on a daily basis.
“It used to drive me crazy that he was so lazy,” Kobe said, via Serena Winters of Lakers Nation. “You got to have the responsibility of working every single day. You can’t skate through s—.”
Shaq and Kobe seemed to skate through three straight championships from 2000-2002, but Shaq injured his toe after that third Lakers title. Rather than having surgery right after the season, he waited until training camp so he could have the procedure done on company time.
As Phil Jackson reminded us a few weeks ago, that injury had a lot to do with Kobe giving up on Shaq. Bryant wanted to win four championships in a row and couldn’t understand the lack of urgency from his teammate. Jackson also said that Shaq played the “clown role” on the team while Kobe was one of the hardest workers he has ever seen.
Kobe desperately wants to win a sixth championship and tie Michael Jordan. If he doesn’t get there, he’ll always feel that Shaq was partially to blame.
H/T Lakers NationGoogle+