Skip to main content

Kobe Bryant Wanted To Be Traded To Chicago Bulls After Shaquille O'Neal Said He And Penny Hardaway Were 'The Same': "No, We're Not."

Kobe Bryant Wanted To Be Traded To Chicago Bulls After Shaquille O'Neal Said He And Penny Hardaway Were 'The Same': "No, We're Not."

Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O'Neal had some issues during their time together in Los Angeles. What started as a good relationship turned into a beef between two players whose chemistry on the court was unmatched. 

They created an incredible duo on the Los Angeles Lakers. On the other hand, their personal relationship was never as good, as their egos and different approaches to the game didn't help their relationship, ultimately leading to the feud we all know about. 

Before Shaq was traded to the Miami Heat after the 2003/04 NBA season, the Lakers had more chances to split up their star duo, but instead of dealing Shaq somewhere else, they could have shipped Kobe Bryant to the place where his idol became the greatest player of all time

During a 2018 face-to-face conversation, Kobe revealed that he was really serious about joining the Chicago Bulls. Bryant and his family were looking for schools, places to live, and everything looked set for them after Shaquille O'Neal compared the Black Mamba to former teammate Penny Hardaway, saying they were 'the same.' 

Shaq: So that was true, you were gonna go to the Bulls?

Kobe: Yeah. There was a story in ESPN, I think it was ESPN Magazine, and they asked you a question about me and Penny. And you said we were essentially the same. And I looked at that and said, uh, 'no, we're not.'

Shaq: But I think you took that the wrong way, because of all the misquotes and the bad stuff.

Kobe: I probably did, and I probably used it as motivation too. Saying, listen, if this is the conversation, I don't want this conversation. When I retire, I don't want people to say, 'OK, he only won because of Shaq.' As unfair as that is, Magic never won without Cap, right? Michael never won without Scottie. But here I am, getting stuck with this argument, which is not fair, yet this is the argument people will make, and I'm not OK with that. Therefore, I knew OK, I gotta go. 

Kobe looked set to leave the Lakers after he heard what Shaq said about him and Penny, another talented player that didn't have the same impact as Kobe in the league due to injuries. The Black Mamba took offense to that and tried to prove he could win without having Shaq by his side. 

He eventually did it, but on the Lakers, bringing home title number 15 and 16 in 2009 and 2010, respectively. Bryant kept fighting hard to lead his squad to the promised land, and he could do it with time, creating another incredible partnership with Pau Gasol. Fortunately, he made amends with O'Neal and the two went on to develop a good relationship until KB24 was tragically killed in a fatal helicopter crash two years ago.