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Dwyane Wade Reveals What Shaquille O'Neal Said During First Game Back At Staples Center: "I Built This Place."

Kobe Bryant And Shaquille O'Neal Had An Epic Duel In Their First Game Against Each Other: "We're Not Trying To Score 50 Or 60 Points Trying To Outdo Anybody"

Shaquille O'Neal's departure from the Los Angeles Lakers was anything but peaceful. The former center reportedly had beef with teammate Kobe Bryant given their different mindsets regarding work ethic. This situation prompted the Lakers to ship O'Neal to Miami, where the Heat welcomed him with open arms. 

It was during his first game back at Staples Center that The Big Diesel would go off on his former team and Kobe. The relationship wasn't good and O'Neal took that duel as an opportunity to show the Lakers they missed out on a big opportunity.

On the other hand, the Lakers fans were hostile with the then 3x NBA champion, sparking a flame inside the player. Recently, Dwyane Wade, who played with Shaq on the Heat, picked that game as his favorite memory of playing on Christmas Day. Talking with Jalen Rose on Jalen Rose: Renaissance Man Podcast, Wade said:

“My favorite Christmas moment is tough because I’ve played against Kobe, like 5 times on Christmas. I guess, my favorite one will have to be the first one when Shaq and we went back to LA for the Christmas game.”

“I remember he be running down ‘I built this place’. That was my favorite one.”

It was a good duel between O'Neal and Bryant. Shaq posted 24 points and grabbed 11 rebounds, whereas Kobe dropped 42 points on the Heat. The Big Diesel even took a shot at Kobe after the game, criticizing him for trying to outdo the rest of the team. 

“I knew that it wasn’t going to go in because my team came out they played well. I fouled out, I felt I let them down a little bit but ‘flash’ Eddie Jones told me they had it. That’s why we wanted to come here and win. We’re not trying to score 50 or 60 points trying to outdo anybody, we just want to play good team ball. And that’s what we did today.”

That duel was as heated as they come given all the background between the two teams and their biggest stars. In the end, the Heat needed overtime to beat the Lakers, 104-102. The Purple and Gold had the chance to win the game but couldn't make the last shot. 

The bright side of this story is that Shaq and Kobe eventually made amends, became friends again, and never hesitated to show the respect they had for each other.