Shaquille O'Neal, Kobe Bryant Discuss 1st Fight, Lakers Breakup on TNT

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistFebruary 18, 2018

Shaquille O'Neal, left, and Kobe Bryant chat at the unveiling of his statue in front of Staples Center, Friday, March 24, 2017, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press

During a discussion on TNT, Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant talked about their first fight as Los Angeles Lakers teammates and how their shared L.A. tenure ended.

As seen in the following video, Bryant said the altercation took place during a pickup game that occurred during an NBA lockout:

Bryant was likely referring to the 1998-99 lockout, which shortened the season to 50 games per team.

Kobe said he and Shaq were on opposite sides in the pickup game, and that O'Neal said, "Take that little b---h" in reference to Bryant.

Bryant added that Shaq's comments led to both men throwing punches.

The former Lakers teammates also talked about what led to O'Neal's trade out of L.A.:

With regard to the pair's parting ways, Kobe said he was looking into homes in Chicago in anticipation of a trade to the Bulls.

Bryant said he took issue with O'Neal's statement that Kobe and the center's former Magic teammate Penny Hardaway were essentially the same player.

O'Neal said the Lakers front office didn't take kindly to his request for more money, and that resulted in his trade out of town.

Kobe mentioned he was tired of playing in Shaq's shadow and was unhappy with the narrative that he needed O'Neal to win championships.

Bryant and O'Neal first became teammates in 1996-97, as the Lakers acquired Kobe in a draft-night trade with the Charlotte Hornets and Shaq signed with L.A. in free agency after four seasons with the Orlando Magic.

They went on to spend eight seasons together in Los Angeles, and during that time they won three championships.

O'Neal was named NBA Finals MVP in each of those triumphs before getting traded to the Miami Heat in July 2004.

Both Kobe and Shaq enjoyed success after the swap, as O'Neal won a championship as a member of the Heat in 2005-06. Bryant and the Lakers then won titles in 2008-09 and 2009-10, and he was named the Finals MVP both times.

All told, Kobe and Shaq combined for 33 All-Star nods, the aforementioned championships, two regular-season MVP awards and five Finals MVP awards.

O'Neal was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2016, and Bryant will likely be waltz in when he's first eligible in 2021.

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