Shaq had ‘code’ to get Lakers to stop passing to Kobe Bryant
Former NBA player Raja Bell revealed a juicy nugget about Shaquille O’Neal and an in-game “code” he had with his Los Angeles Lakers teammates.
O’Neal and Bryant have gone back-and-forth over the years trading barbs. However, a story relayed by O’Neal’s former teammate tells just how much frustration O’Neal had towards Bryant at times when they were teammates due to Kobe’s ball-hogging ways.
During the CBS Sports’ “Kanell and Bell” podcast, Bell shared that O’Neal had a “secret code” he would use to get teammates to stop passing the ball to Bryant.
Bell learned of Shaq’s code because O’Neal also used it in Phoenix to stop Gordan Giricek from ruining the Suns’ offensive flow in the 2007-08 season.
“Shaq told me a story. We had a kid named Gordan Giricek on our Suns team, he had gotten there, and Gordon would go in the game, and Gordon was about his buckets. So Gordon would get in, and no matter what we were doing, no matter what the flow or the chemistry was, Gordon would be just, you know, shooting the ball. Gordon was my guy, I played with him in Utah.
“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.'”
You know someone’s not working in the framework of a team’s offense when players develop a secret code to stop passing them the ball.
Bryant said last month that he had “no beef” with O’Neal after Bryant’s criticism of O’Neal’s work ethic went viral. It will be interesting to see if Bryant has any response to this revelation by Bell or whether he will shrug it off.