Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O'Neal's duo helped the Los Angeles Lakers win three consecutive championships in the late 90s and the early 2000s. Soon after achieving the enormous feat, the duo broke up and the two stars went their separate ways.
Despite playing for different teams, the two still had a bit of competition going on. Shaq moved ahead in the count after winning a ring alongside Dwyane Wade and the Miami Heat.
Kobe's reply? Well, he led the Los Angeles Lakers to two back-to-back titles in 2009 and 2010. After winning the 2010 NBA championship, Bryant made sure that Shaq was aware that Kobe was up by one now.
"Just got one more than Shaq [Shaquille O'Neal]. You can take that to the bank. You know how I am. I don’t forget anything."
By this point in their respective careers, the two were on very different paths. While Kobe was coming off a fresh championship-winning season, Shaq was already on his last legs and would go on to retire in 2011.
As for Kobe, this turned out to be the last championship he won in his career. In the next few years of his career, numerous injuries slowed him down and the Lakers inevitably entered a rebuilding phase.
In fact, at one point Kobe utterly disappointed in the team built around him. He even came to practice just to see which of the players would get traded before the NBA trade deadline.
Bryant retired from the league in 2016 and finished his career in an iconic way. He scored 60 points in his last game. An amazing end to a phenomenal 20-year career in the league.
Following his retirement, the team struggled for a few seasons until recently. Thanks to LeBron James and Anthony Davis joining forces, the purple and gold won the 2020 NBA title.
Now, the organization looks ready to compete for at least a couple of years. The new season is about to begin in less than two months. What are your expectations from the LA Lakers? Let us know your views in the comments section below.