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#pounditWednesday, September 27, 2023

Shaq has touching Kobe Bryant quote on notable anniversary

Shaq looking on

Mar 10, 2017; Atlanta, GA, USA; NBA former player Shaquille O’Neal watches a game between the Atlanta Hawks and Toronto Raptors in the third quarter at Philips Arena. The Hawks won 105-99. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Sunday marked the 23rd anniversary of the Los Angeles Lakers’ dramatic comeback against the Sacramento Kings in Game 7 of the Western Conference Finals, a game punctuated by a memorable Kobe Bryant-Shaquille O’Neal alley-oop. The anniversary had Shaq in a reflective mood, and prompted a touching quote about his former teammate.

O’Neal spoke about the game and the moment on NBATV Sunday prior to Game 2 of the NBA Finals, and said he would happily trade the moment for Bryant to be alive.

“I’m happy that happened, but every time I see my young fella, he’s not with us anymore, it kind of makes me sad,” O’Neal said. “Shoutout to his mom and dad, we talk all the time, his sisters. Of course it was a happy moment, but if I could trade that moment and have him sitting here with us, or be able to text him and say ‘Look, Kobe, can you believe this happened 23 years ago?’ That would be better for me.”

The memorable moment was the highlight of a game that saw the Lakers rally from 15 down to make the NBA Finals, and has become one of the defining moments of the Laker dynasty of that era. The two ultimately became embroiled in a long-running feud, but Shaq made clear how much Kobe meant to him after Bryant died in a helicopter crash in 2020.

No doubt many would feel the exact way Shaq does upon seeing the highlight.

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