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#pounditFriday, January 22, 2021

Shaq shares awesome story about Kobe Bryant’s work ethic as a rookie

Shaq TNT

Shaquille O’Neal is understandably crushed about the death of Kobe Bryant and Kobe’s 13-year-old daughter Gianna, but it’s hard to imagine someone who has better Kobe stories to share than Shaq. The big man was kind enough to pass one along on Thursday night.

During TNT’s “Inside the NBA” broadcast, Shaq told an awesome story that illustrated how intense Kobe’s work ethic was. During Bryant’s rookie year in 1996, Shaq said Kobe was not getting much playing time so he would spend time working off to the side by himself in practice when then-Lakers coach Del Harris was going over plays. As Shaq recalls, Kobe would work up a full sweat while working on his skills with an invisible basketball and talking to himself.

“We’re all just looking like, ‘What is this kid doing?'” Shaq said. “Full speed, sweating, just pump-faking and moving around without a ball. Talking to himself like, ‘You can’t guard me!’ Just talking to himself.”

Kobe was only 18 during his first season with the Lakers, so that gives you an idea of the kind of drive he had from a young age. When you hear stories like that, it makes it a lot easier to understand how he won five championships and became one of the most successful players in NBA history.

Shaq was understandably overcome with emotion while discussing Kobe’s death earlier in the week, but we’re looking forward to more Kobe stories from him going forward. While the two were not shy about the fact that they had a complicated relationship, they won three championships together and were one of the most dynamic duos in NBA history. We want to hear everything Shaq is willing to share.

More Larry Brown Sports coverage of Kobe Bryant’s death:

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Other victims of the helicopter crash:
John Altobelli, junior college baseball coach, also died in helicopter crash
Christina Mauser, girls’ basketball coach, among the helicopter crash victims
Sarah Chester, daughter Payton were also killed in Kobe Bryant helicopter crash
Ara Zobayan was the pilot in Kobe Bryant helicopter crash

Tributes to Kobe:
Vanessa Bryant posts first Instagram message since death of Kobe, Gianna
NBA players changing jersey numbers in honor of Kobe Bryant
Clippers leave Kobe Bryant’s retired Lakers jerseys uncovered at Staples Center
Bill Belichick shares touching anecdote in tribute to Kobe Bryant
UConn honors Gianna Bryant with own jersey, spot on the bench
Jeanie Buss shares emotional tribute to Kobe, Gianna Bryant on Instagram
Kobe Bryant could have street named after him near Staples Center
Video: Shaq gets emotional talking about Kobe Bryant on TNT
LeBron James had inspirational message for Lakers during meeting about Kobe
Dallas Mavericks retire Kobe Bryant’s No. 24 jersey
Video: Raptors, Spurs start game with amazing tribute to Kobe Bryant
Shaq posts heartfelt tribute to Kobe Bryant
Michael Jordan releases statement on death of ‘little brother’ Kobe Bryant
Video: Doc Rivers breaks down crying talking about Kobe Bryant
Phil Jackson calls Kobe Bryant ‘a chosen one’ in statement on his death
NBA commissioner Adam Silver issues statement on death of Kobe Bryant
Video: Dwyane Wade posts emotional message reacting to Kobe Bryant’s death
Kendrick Perkins extends olive branch to Kevin Durant after Kobe Bryant’s death
Gilbert Arenas vows to begin coaching career like Kobe Bryant urged him to
Video: Emotional Mike Breen sums up NBA world’s emotions about Kobe Bryant’s death
Trae Young’s huge game was full of Kobe Bryant-related statistical coincidences

More coverage:
Video: Kobe Bryant helicopter audio released
Investigators release chilling drone footage from Kobe Bryant helicopter crash site
Media errors, rumors, poor judgment run rampant in reporting of Kobe Bryant news
TMZ says they had permission from Kobe’s people to report Bryant had died
NBA postpones Tuesday’s Lakers-Clippers game after Kobe Bryant’s death
Shaq says he had not spoken to Kobe Bryant in nearly four years
Kobe Bryant recently filed for ‘Mambacita’ trademark for daughter Gianna
Kobe Bryant checked in on Shaq’s son Shareef morning of helicopter crash
No, Rick Fox did not die in helicopter crash that killed Kobe, Gianna Bryant
Lakers fans start memorial to Kobe Bryant outside Staples Center
Kobe Bryant’s last tweet was congratulating LeBron James on passing him
Sports world stunned over Kobe Bryant news
Kobe Bryant dies in helicopter crash – dead at 41

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