With a snippet of Kobe Bryant’s appearance on Shaquille O’Neal’s podcast that was made public last week, we already knew that the two had pretty much put their legendary feud behind them. With the full release Monday of that episode of “The Big Podcast with Shaq,” we now know that little less than a love-fest took place between the former Lakers teammates.
Right off the bat, O’Neal introduced Bryant as “the greatest Laker ever.” So that’s pretty high praise, not to mention a claim that might be of interest to Magic Johnson, as well as Jerry West and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
“I just want people to know that I don’t hate you. I know you don’t hate me,” O’Neal told Bryant. “I called it today a ‘work beef,’ is what we had.”
The podcast was an overt effort to “clear the air” between the two, and while we cut to a shot of Homer Simpson drooling while saying, “Mmmm … work beef …,” here are some of the other tidbits to emerge from the discussion:
- O’Neal ribbed Bryant about the latter’s wife referring to him as “bay-boo” on Instagram, and suggested that opponents might also taunt him. “Bay-Boo will still drop 60,” Bryant replied.
- Shaq was surprised when Charles Barkley told him that Bryant had passed him on the NBA’s all-time scoring list (in 2012). “So I went to look, and I’m like, ‘Damn, this dude’s got a lot of points,'” O’Neal said.
- The pair would discuss their plans to “take turns” in the playoffs, and “used to literally alternate who dominates what series.”
- On one occasion, Bryant was impressed when O’Neal, whose missed free throws cost the Lakers a game, threw a tantrum in the locker room. Bryant said that he noted to himself, “ ‘Okay, he really, really cares about this team. He’s not just going to sit back and brush it under the rug.’ “
- Bryant said O’Neal taught him “how to lead” (“He always checks in on guys and makes sure they’re good”).
- In 1999, Bryant realized he had a “couple screws loose,” because he was “willing to get into a fistfight with this man.”
- According to Bryant, “the physicality in the Olympics is more physical than the NBA is” currently.
- Kobe: “I don’t know what happened to all the seven-footers.” Shaq: “You know what happened, baby. We killed them all off.”
- Phil Jackson didn’t play favorites between them, but “Robert Horry was the whipping boy.”
- Bryant said he would make for a bad team executive because he “would fire somebody in a second.”
- They agreed that their best Lakers squad was the 2000-01 team that went 15-1 in the playoffs en route to a title.