Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant shared a relationship that can only be described as tumultuous. The duo went from the incredible high of completing the threepeat together as a one-two punch to the low of wanting to fight one another. Their beef was well documented at the time, but after Shaq retired and Kobe got his championships to add to his collection, things mellowed down between them.
On April 13, 2016, exactly 6 years ago, Bryant played his final game in the NBA in a Los Angeles Lakers uniform. And right on the sideline, sitting courtside, was none other than his former teammate in Shaq. As the famous story goes, Shaq challenged Kobe to score 50 points in the last game of his career and Bryant responded in a way that summed him up best by dropping 60.
"I challenged him to get 50 and the motherf***er got 60."
This story is an excellent example of who Bryant was as a person and a player, always trying to go above and beyond in his quest to surpass his idol, Michael Jordan. The fact that it was O'Neal challenging him must also have spurred him on, the two of them had beefed late into their NBA careers.
While no current superstar seems to be on the cusp of retirement just yet, coming even close to what Kobe managed to do in his last game will prove to be a task. Finding that Mamba mentality is the key for players to take their game to the next level though, and as a lot of stars already know, leaving a legacy behind means winning a championship has become necessary. These stories may become legends, but there is always something to learn from the best that went before.