“delay [getting in touch]O’Neill said People magazine. “I will never see Kobe again, in real life, forever. And I just had to call. He should have called. We both should have called but he works, I work, so he’s ‘I’ll see you when I see you’.”
On the court, O’Neal and Bryant teamed up to form a tenacious duo that led Los Angeles to three straight championships from 2000 to 2002. With two of the best players in the league at the time, Phil Jackson’s Lakers were poised to forge one of the greatest dynasties sports had seen. Absolutely.
However, as Jackson said, the “juvenile” feud led to the demise of Kobe and Shaq Lakers in 2004, when the latter publicly requested a trade. O’Neal was dealt to the Heat that year and both players would go on to find success individually before their NBA careers ended.
The couple began to patch things up as the years went on and O’Neill admitted that he considered reconnecting the two as they got older. However, the 2020 helicopter crash that killed Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter Gianna, and seven others, kept his former teammates from getting that opportunity.
“[I thought]“We’re both going to get old. We’ll be together for the Lakers’ 50th anniversary.” Other things shouldn’t be more important. [than getting in touch]but the little things [got in the way]. ”
O’Neal previously spoke about his rocky relationship with Bryant when he spoke publicly at a life event celebration in February 2020. Likening himself and the Hall of Fame shooting guard to John Lennon and Paul McCartney of basketball, the former Lakers big man said: The pair’s rivalry led to some “The Greatest Basketball of All Time”.
“Kobe and I pushed each other to play some of the greatest basketball of all time…and yes, sometimes, like immature children, we argued, fought, and pranked or insulted each other with offhand remarks,” O’Neal said in his speech. “But make no mistake, even when people thought we were dealing with bad conditions, when the cameras were off, he and I would wink at each other and say, ‘Let’s go get some ass. ‘” “”
O’Neill said People This time has not given him more perspective on Bryant’s death, but he does have advice for anyone looking to reconnect with family members or loved ones.
“Call your mom. Call your brother. Call the home boy you used to party with in college. “Forever is a long time.”
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