Shaq Opens Up About How He’d Push Kobe Bryant’s Buttons When They Were Lakers Teammates, And Why He Did It

The NBA has featured some incredible on-court duos over the years, such as Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and (the feuding) Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen. Of course, another pair of players who must be included among their ranks are Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal. The two Los Angeles Lakers alums had a “complex” relationship, but few would argue against their effectiveness and impact on the game. In recent years, Shaq has been open about their time as players and recently discussed how he’d push Bryant’s buttons, as well as why he’d do it. 

Shaq was one of the most imposing basketball players to ever put on an NBA uniform and always appeared to have a serious demeanor during a game. However, he didn’t mind being a troll and taking the piss out of his teammates and rivals when given the chance. That apparently extended to Kobe Bryant, as the Diesel explained that he would taunt him during practices. And after hearing the hall of famer’s comments, I’d love to see footage of the exact encounters he describes here:

I’d press his buttons and say, ‘This ain’t your team, this is my team, little man.’ You might be Kobe, but I’m the Shaq. And it would just eat him up inside, and I would see that, and I would use that. Notice how out of all our interactions, Phil Jackson never intervened… Because you got two animals going at it. And his only request was, ‘On the court, make sure you play as one.’ And you know, that’s what we did.

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