If there was a duo that stood out to the world, it would be Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal. The Los Angeles Lakers legends did everything they could on the court, together. During their time, there were many reports of a feud between the two superstars, but they were always sure to never let it affect the magic they produced on the court.
Kobe‘s fearless and elite mentality is an established fact in the entire world. It is no secret that he climbed his way to the top with his sheer hard work and discipline. Shaq, on the other hand, worked hard, but it would be safe for us to claim that his work ethic wasn’t close to Kobe’s. After the 5x NBA champ’s demise in 2020, which still seems to haunt NBA fans, Shaq let the world in on the truth about their relationship.
How many championships did Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal win together?
The Black Mamba played with Shaq from 1996 to 2004. During this time, the legendary duo managed to win three NBA championships in a row (2000, 2001, & 2002). They also went to the NBA Finals in 2004 but lost to the Detroit Pistons. When Kobe and Shaquille were playing together, there were countless reports of a rift between them. However, Bryant once disclosed a sacrifice he made to help O’Neal.
On The Corp podcast in 2019, Kobe said to Alex Rodriguez, “There was a year in 03 where I had 40 points in 9 straight games, Shaq was out. So Phil comes to me before the stretch, says, ‘Kobe we need you to take over the offense,’ I was like ‘alright cool’. So that literally started the streak.”
“Shaq comes back from injury, you know… I still continue to do it right. Phil calls me to his office, ‘Hey you know, we’re starting to lose the big fella, this 40-point streak is starting to kind of take away his fire. So I need you to start dialing it back…We’re gonna lose him, and we need him in June,” Kobe added.
For the fans that don’t know, Kobe went on a sensational scoring streak during the 2002-03 NBA season. It all started in February when he put up 46 points against the New York Knicks. He continued to put up at least 40 points for the next 8 games, which helped the Lakers maintain a record of 7-2. It was one of the best streaks any player had gone on at the time. The next game was the Lakers’ arch-rivals, the LA Clippers.
Kobe was onto top it off with another 40-point game in the bag. However, it looked like he wanted to prioritize Shaq’s mentality in the locker room. We have seen various reports mention that Kobe was unhappy with O’Neal’s work ethic back in the day. Hence, Bryant was sure to give up his streak. It came after former Lakers head coach Phil Jackson told Kobe that Shaq was losing motivation.
On that day, Kobe and Shaq bagged 32 and 33 points respectively against the Clippers. They went on to win 50 times that season and eventually won another championship. The fact that Kobe Bryant put aside his achievements shows how important the Lakers team and Shaq’s morale were important to him.