The greatest dynasties in the NBA host the greatest talent in the NBA. The original old-school Celtics had multiple Hall of Famers. Chicago had Jordan, Pippen, and Rodman. The 80’s Lakers and Celtics had names like Magic, Larry, and Kareem. Even the Warriors had KD, Steph, Klay, and Draymond. But the Lakers of the early 00s had just Kobe and Shaq.
They won 3 straight NBA titles together before Shaq was traded away to Miami.
The reason behind Shaq being shipped off to Miami
Kobe and Shaq began their Lakers career in the same season. Shaq came to LA from Orlando whereas Kobe was just drafted into the league. They played together for 8 whole seasons. During that time Kobe and Shaq grew into the greatest dynamic duo in NBA history. The most amazing scorer and the most dominant center together on one team.
However, as Kobe was turning into a star, he did not like the narrative that Shaq was carrying Kobe. His competitive nature made Kobe work even harder. However, Shaq did not have the same work ethic yet got all the praise. The narratives got into Kobe’s head which created a rift between them.
In the 2001 road playoff games, Kobe averaged 32.0 points, 9.0 rebounds and 5.4 assists while Shaq averaged 26.4 points, 13.4 rebounds and 2.6 assists pic.twitter.com/1fqTL8nPl3
— Tupac (@TupacAG) April 19, 2022
Shaq did not solve the problems between them but doubled down instead. They stayed together because of the amount they won together. But that was the only thing holding them together. After winning 3 titles in a row they were looking to win the 4th one in the 2003-04 season. The Lakers had Kobe and Shaq in their prime and older Gary Payton and Karl Malone.
Even though they were the overwhelming favorites, they lost to the Detroit Pistons who had no single star but a great team overall. That was the last straw and it was time to pick between Shaq and Kobe.
“Well, I would have. I think everybody would have, you know, probably say the same thing but I don’t know with the intricacies. Shaq had to do what was best for him and his family. He said so after the last game we played.”
Kobe said that if he was the GM, he’d try to work it out. The Lakers picked Kobe because he was younger and because Shaquille O’Neal was ready to move on and travel back to south beach.
O’Neal has accepted his fault for the falling out between him and Kobe. But this is one of those, too little, too late situations. How many titles could they have won if they just worked it out and stayed together?