It's no secret that Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O'Neal weren't always on the best of terms. In fact, their relationship got so bad as teammates, they decided to split completely, with O'Neal heading to the Heat in 2004.
Still, it doesn't mean they didn't share some really great moments.
According to Shaq himself, the first time he met Kobe was actually years before their partnership began in L.A. Here's the quote, via the Rex Chapman Show:
“Little kid comes the locker room we were in Orlando he wants to see Penny Hardaway it’s Kobe. I never knew this until Kobe told me this story. He wants to see Penny.
Penny’s not a bad guy but Penny- I don’t know what’s going on that day- he just, ‘whatever’. And then Kobe was standing there and I actually remember this day. The kid was sitting there and I grabbed him and said, ‘come on little fella. I’ll take a picture with you.'
I never knew that kid was Kobe until he told me. We played together, had our fights and battles together, then we did that, Lakers, sit down here and Kobe said, ‘Hey man. You remember when I came to the locker room, and I wanted to see Penny and he blew me off?’ I was like, ‘That was you?’ he said, ‘Yeah, that was me’.”
So, funnily enough, Shaq was the one to show love and kindness to a young Kobe at the time, who was just trying to see some of his basketball idols. Even back then, Kobe was trying to learn from the best.
Evidently, not even O'Neal knew who he was talking to, or that that kid would end up becoming his teammate years later.
Time is a funny thing, isn't it?