Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant created one of the deadliest duos in the NBA at the end of the 90s, taking the Los Angeles Lakers back to the top of the NBA, becoming the last team to three-peat in the association.
Even though they were great on the court, their relationship wasn't the best out of it. They had different mindsets and that eventually created a rivalry between them that was too much to bear for the players and the team. Ever since O'Neal was traded to the Miami Heat in 2004, people believed it was Kobe who made the Lakers deal his teammate to South Beach.
Well, Jeanie Buss has shed light on that situation, explaining that the late Lakers icon didn't have anything to do with that, as it was only a monetary decision, made by her father, Dr. Jerry Buss. During a recent edition of the 'All the Smoke' podcast, Buss said (53:37):
“[Shaq] wanted an amount of money that was legal under the CBA. But it wasn’t what my dad wanted to pay him. And so it came to the point where the decision was made to trade Shaq,” Buss said. “A lot of people want to put that blame on Kobe. It wasn’t. It was purely a money situation.”
That duo brought a lot of joy to the Lakers but things didn't end well between them, with Shaq even admitting they weren't the best friends of all. They had beef over the years before they finally squashed it and became friends until Bryant was tragically killed in a helicopter crash last year.
Now Buss has a dynamic duo in LeBron James and Anthony Davis, who will try to emulate what Kobe and Shaq did 20 years ago. They started things the best way, winning the 2020 NBA championship in the infamous Orlando bubble and nothing points out that they're going to slow down anytime soon.