Shaq once threatened to murder Kobe Bryant
Shaq and Kobe did not get along despite their eight seasons together on the LA Lakers that included winning three championships.
Both Shaq and Kobe are Hall of Famers and among the best players ever, so their massive egos led to regular clashes. Their time together as teammates ended when the Lakers traded Shaq to the Heat and chose the younger Bryant as their cornerstone.
We know things got ugly between them such as prior to the 2003-2004 season when they fought in the media, but now we’re hearing just how bad things got.
In an oral history of the ’03-’04 team that lost to the Detroit Pistons in the NBA Finals, Lakers PR man John Black talked about the relationship between the Lakers stars and says Shaq once threatened to murder Kobe.
Mostly it was Shaq and Kobe didn’t like each other, but it didn’t affect them on the court. They would say something about the other, on or off the record, but it didn’t become confrontational more than two or three times over the eight years. When Kobe gave the statement to Jim Gray where he went off calling Shaq fat and lazy, that was one of the times. There was one really bad one, early on. Brian Shaw had to pull them apart. Shaq threatened to murder Kobe.
Well dang, that’s pretty serious. Shaq has been accused of hiring hitmen in the past, so we wouldn’t put something like this past him.
What was a big part of the conflict between Kobe and Shaq? Kobe thought Shaq was too lazy and didn’t work hard enough. It probably also upset him that Shaq played a “clown role” on the team, as Phil Jackson said. Kobe called out Shaq for having women on the road and that didn’t sit well with many around the league. It’s no wonder Shaq wanted to kill him.
For more reading on the subject, you will enjoy LBS’ interview with Gary Payton, who was the point guard on that Lakers superteam.