Phil Jackson has been at the forefront of some of the greatest dynasties in the history of the NBA while coaching some of the greatest players the league will ever see. But possibly nothing in his tenure got more media attention than the contentious relationship between Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant during the early 2000s.
Of course the two combined to win three championships including including a dominant 15-1 run through the 2001 postseason that had fans and media talking about the possibility of those Lakers becoming one of the greatest dynasties of all-time. But some well publicized spats between the two superstars ended the run prematurely and the Lakers traded their dominant big man to the Miami Heat after a 2004 loss in the NBA Finals to the Detroit Pistons.
Phil Jackson appeared on the Dan Patrick Show on Tuesday morning and seemed to indicate that the ‘drama’ and ‘beef’ between Bryant and O’Neal was blown out of proportion.
“It wasn’t as much as was made of. I think they played into it a little bit. There was some little stuff that was going on that was kind of petty stuff, but in reality they always blended back together when it became critical for them to do. It was a “who’s a real leader” type of thing going on, kind of like “who’s the real man” here. I kind of let them play it for awhile then would reign it in when it got too wild.”
This quote goes against most of the things that have been reported throughout the years as it has always been assumed that the two were at each other’s throats and Kobe has always taken the brunt of the blame for ‘running Shaq out of town.’
Jackson also said that Shaq’s toe injury in 2002 altered the course of the Lakers as well as Shaq’s career in general.
What do you think?? Did the media blow this drama out of proportion or was the Shaq and Kobe relationship beyond repair?
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