Watching Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O'Neal dominate the league was an amazing sight for Los Angeles Lakers fans as their team ended up winning three consecutive NBA Championships from 2000-2002.
Although the duo later split up during their 3-peat era, they were very disciplined and hungry for success. As a result, they the two spotted anyone slacking, the player in question would get an earful from either of the two superstars.
But during his rookie season, Luke Walton ended up getting destroyed by both Kobe and Shaq. The reason for this was that Walton once decided to show up at practice while smelling like alcohol.
“I remember one time my rookie year, I came in a little, uh him (Kobe Bryant) and Shaq like to do this as, I think it was just rookies, but any young guy, I probably had too much to drink the night before, so I came in, I was a rookie, I felt good, and they could smell some alcohol on me. And Kobe informed the rest of the team that no one was allowed to help me on defense, and that I had to guard him the entire practice.
“I was laughing at first like, ‘Oh, this is funny,’ but in Kobe’s mind, in his eyes, it was like, ‘No, I see and smell weakness, I’m going to destroy you today.’ He taught me that lesson. He probably scored 70-something in practice that day, and I was begging for help, none of the teammates would help. But yeah, his killer instinct and his work ethic, they’ll stick with me forever.”
He also shared, "Shaq did it to me too one day. Yeah, Shaq made me guard him, and then I just started trying to foul him, and he told me that if I kept fouling him, he was gonna punch me, so then I stopped fouling him. It wasn’t fair. I felt like I was a child trying to play a grown man’s game."
The story simply proves that the grind doesn't stop for a player when they reach the NBA. Instead, it is only the beginning of the road for them.
Walton clearly didn't have that mentality and paid dearly for it. Stories like these always make fans wonder if Kobe and Shaq never had a beef. They could have probably won more rings together because they both shared an amazing passion for the game.