Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant had a solid relationship when they teamed up in Los Angeles, with both sharing some kind words about each other, showing that they were ready to take the world by storm on the Lakers.
Even though things didn't end in the best way for them in Los Angeles, this duo had a great run, making the Lakers the last team to three-peat in the NBA and creating one of the most legendary partnerships in NBA history. Before the beef and all the drama surrounding them, Shaq and Kobe were solid, and a big proof of that was O'Neal calling his then teammate the best player in the world, even when he was the reigning NBA MVP.
An old video of Shaq and Kobe in a post-game interview recently resurfaced, showing O'Neal giving flowers to a 22-year-old Kobe who was yet to hit his prime and was already terrorizing opposing teams.
"When I first came to LA, Jerry [West] showed me a tape of this kid and I knew he had potential, and a lot of people thought we had problems, we never really had problems at all. I'm a big brother, he's a little brother, I want him to be the best player in the world, I really do. We really didn't have struggles, I think the media wanted us to have struggles. Just two great players playing on the same team, and right now he's playing great, he's getting everybody involved, plus he's given opponents the business."
Kobe Bryant was a great prospect before entering the NBA. Even though he had to fight hard to earn a spot on the Lakers team, he always knew he would be great and those around him knew the type of player he could become. Shaq was one of those, and it didn't take long before he confirmed his initial thoughts.
The Black Mamba improved his level season after season until O'Neal acknowledged him as the best player in the world, a title he would keep for many years in the eyes of fans.