Shaq: “It Don’t Get No Easier” Than Playing With Kobe Bryant

Shaq: “It Don’t Get No Easier” Than Playing With Kobe Bryant


jackson kobe shaqIn a recent interview with Sam Amick of USA Today, former Lakers center Shaquille O’Neal had a few comments regarding Dwight Howard (doesn’t he always?) and the Houston Rockets:

“They could be dangerous, but he’s (Howard) in his what, ninth or 10th year? He’s been the same all those 10 years, so can he get better while working with (Rockets aide and Hall of Fame big man) Hakeem (Olajuwon)? Is that going to take him to the next level? I’m not sure. We’ll see, but I haven’t seen it. … (But) if he’s playing great ball and (James) Harden is playing great ball and everyone else is following them, they could be a dangerous team. But I don’t see them winning it right away.”

Then, he furthered his analysis and commented a bit on what it’s like to play alongside his former teammate, Kobe Bryant:

“Everybody can’t handle that pressure (with the Lakers). You can’t do it by yourself. You’re playing with the Black Mamba (Kobe Bryant), and it don’t get no easier than that. You’re either going to be with the Black Mamba and it’s going to be easier than trying to do it by yourself, or you’re going to be with LeBron, or with Durant — the third choice — or with Derrick Rose, the fourth choice. You were with the No. 1 guy — it don’t get no easier than that. … I don’t know Dwight personally, but a lot of people can’t handle that pressure.”

Now, Shaq and Kobe have had a well documented feud throughout the years, but the two have made amends and have what Kobe Bryant recently called a “really, really good relationship now.” I truly believe there is no longer any bad blood between the two as Bryant is usually as brutally honest as they get, especially when it comes to Shaq.

Obviously, Shaq has similar sentiments and has repeatedly praised his former teammate in the media — doing so once again here.

What’s interesting, however, is that O’Neal would call it “easy” to play with Bryant. Certainly, the big fella has been known to make a few outrageous claims in the past, but I actually believe him here.

There’s no doubt that the two had friction off the court and may have had differences on the court as well, but there’s no argument that Shaq had his best seasons in a Lakers uniform while playing alongside Kobe Bryant.

It may be hard to believe but with some convincing from Phil Jackson, when it came down to winning, Kobe sacrificed his game and deferred to the best player on the team at the time — which was Shaq. It resulted in three straight championships.

Many would argue that with two dominant forces such as Shaq and Kobe on the same team together, they could have, would have, and should have won more titles had it been so easy to play with one another.

This is possibly true, but each player had other agendas following the three-peat. Shaq wanted a max contract and reportedly minority ownership of the Lakers despite a decline in his production, and Kobe wanted to step out of Shaq’s gigantic shadow and prove he could win on his own.

However, when winning championships was the number one priority on both players’ minds, they made just that — winning — look easy. They knew exactly how to complement each other and form one of the most dynamic duos in the history of basketball. They were unstoppable at one point.

As far as Dwight Howard and Kobe Bryant and their agendas last season? I don’t know about Dwight’s, but in 17th season of Kobe Bryant’s career, it seemed that the only thing on his mind last season was winning, and his high level of play certainly showed that he came ready to make a serious run at it.

In that sense, I can completely see Shaq’s angle on Kobe. He may not be the easiest guy to play with on some levels, but when it comes to winning, it’s something that runs through Kobe Bryant’s blood and he finds a way to get it done.

He wants to win, he plays to win, and most importantly, he knows how to win.

When you’re a player who’s trying to win for the first time, it doesn’t get much easier than learning from someone who has done it five times.


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  • Laker fan 34 years


  • Paytc


    You know in today’s game most young players only look for instant gratification. They don’t have respect or patience for “great players” or the game itself. It’s all about them. That is fine. That’s why so many fall short of their potential. Yes it’s clear Kobe is the best in the game today and will certainly go down as one of the greatest.

    There is no one in the game today who’d be better at showing an individual player what it takes to be great,or leading a good team to a championship than Kobe Bryant.

    Much respect ! Go Lakers!

    • Paytc

      Reach out to Zelly. I gave him the number I would suggest you use upon your return.
      Or you could simply reach out to me. Cheers to your successful return !

    • Paytc


      It should be fun when Kobe comes back to make it even easier for the team.
      We all know (even haters) the Lakers will only be considered a viable championship threat upon Kobe’s return. We all know for Kobe to truly impact the team he needs other players to “STEP UP” and be accountable to bring it on both ends of the floor.

      A good start. This was just game number 1. We can’t start popping champagne, but at least we see the team has a few capable additions this season. That is very encouraging ! Perhaps we will have a lot less finger pointing and excuse making now that we have a few more capable players.

      Perhaps now we won’t have to point a finger and blame anyone. Perhaps now each player will “STEP UP” and be accountable. Go Lakers !

  • bomb

    Shaq means kobe is the best player in basketball it doesn’t get any easier when your on the #1 guys team.

  • vdogg

    shaq has got it right. there’s a difference between being flashy during the regular season and knowing how to play effective ball in the postseason. kobe knows that and has been there and done it. i am so glad dwight will not be the face of the lakers going forward. you can’t be the first option on a title team if you can’t hit FTs down the stretch to close games. on top of it, dwight is a clown. to be honest, shaq was too, sometimes… but when it came time to do business, shaq was ALL business. i think dwight wants to win, but i don’t think he hates to lose.. and there is a massive difference. the all time greats — magic, bird, jordan, kobe and others hate to lose as much as they love to win.

  • Jim213

    With regards to DH, Shaq is right I’ve brought this up in my belief that DH wasn’t a $118 mil player. Shaq had evolved his game leaps ahead around the same time period as DH. He hasn’t shown progression within his game though his advantage is his athleticism.

    However, by the time his contract expires in H-Town his game may have grown somewhat with the help of Olajuwon and Mchale. It better for his sake given his athleticism has reached its peak and will only decline from then.

    Also agree with Suki that both Kobe and Shaq had different agendas. However, this isn’t intended to hate on Shaq but he couldn’t have won a title on his own. He won titles with two additional franchise players being Kobe and Wade (Heat). So for those who say it was Shaq’s team then and Kobe couldn’t have done it back then without Shaq this is true.

    But the same goes for Shaq, however KB24 has also proven that he can carry a team himself. IMO, the media contributed to the break up given all the back and forth jabber that got serious air time. KB24 won’t have a problem co-existing with a future franchise player down the line as long as they’re willing to put their best foot forward to try to reach the promised land again.

    • Suki Thind

      Exactly. Shaq was obviously “The Man” on those teams, and he dominated like no other in the Finals, but he couldn’t have done all of that without Shaq. I mean, he got swept in the Finals when he was younger. But what he was able to do in some of those playoff series was just insane — Kobe even alluded to it in the Jimmy Kimmel interview, I think. Obviously, Kobe helped enable him to do that, which is why I think it’s awesome that Shaq’s acknowledging that.

      As for Kobe carrying a team by himself? That’s a bit of a debate, but I think I know exactly what you mean. Kobe was averaging 32 points one year and 35 the other, but got knocked out of the first round of the playoffs in 2006 & 2007. But, he had crap talent around him. So, I know what you mean in the sense that he won without another megastar, although having Pau Gasol on the team doesn’t exactly mean he did it by himself. I still think Pau doesn’t get the credit he deserves. We have to remember that prior to Pau coming, Kobe was demanding a trade because the team wasn’t good enough.

      Having said that, I’m not sure what other player you could place in Kobe’s shoes who would’ve won with those teams in 2009 and 2010. The main guys were obviously Gasol, Lamar Odom, Derek Fisher, Andrew Bynum (when healthy), and Trevor Ariza/Metta World Peace. Looking back on that team compared with some of the super teams we have now, the game has changed significantly in just a couple years. Those were some really solid championship teams, but if I replace Kobe Bryant with LeBron James, Kevin Durant, or even Dwyane Wade at the time, I’m not sure if those guys can lead those teams to a championship. To me, those guys play better with talented players around them, but Kobe plays better with players who fit into a system (The Triangle) where he can exploit weaknesses. It may not always be flashy, but the way Kobe executes is remarkable to me.

      • Jim213

        Correct, Kobe being the franchise proved to himself and others that he could attain more titles without another franchise player. Gasol deserves credit especially as the wing man but it’s his inconsistency in playing and remaining at a top performing level that likely places him on the trade block on a close to yearly basis.

        Agree, it seems Kobe’s team’s have done more with less during those championship years. However, I believe a few years from now K Durant will be the best NBA player given his shooting ability. He’d probably be able to do the same as Kobe has with a team down the line but will need more experience to take his game to the next level.

        During Kobe’s first years in the league he wasn’t as skilled and capable of doing what he’s known for today. It took those playoff experiences along with working constantly on skills to be the player he’s been in the last 10 years. But the biggest benefit to experience comes in a players mentality.

        Look at Lebron, his game has grown a lot in the last few years as he’s assumed the leadership role in Miami. He had opportunities to win titles with the Cavs but fell short given his inexperience and not having a second man to rely on during those times. His best play has come while playing for the Heat which can be credited to having a good team (depth) aside of Wade and Bosch.

        Seems players need to experience the challenges and hardships that result to take their game to the next level. But I also don’t see Durant and Westbrook staying together in the long run especially if they don’t win a title or two aside of todays short max contracts.

        • Suki Thind

          Yeah, Durant is still young as hell. I can only imagine how good he’ll be at 27. As for he and Westbrook, you’re right if they don’t win a title, it’s probably over. But I think they get one before they split up. If they can’t, then they’ll have to trade him for a big man and a passing PG. Those two are deadly together, but you have to wonder if Durant and Harden would’ve been a better pair. I can only imagine if they had stayed together!

          • Jim213

            Agree, Westbrook seems more explosive but Harden is a better all around player IMO. If he would’ve stayed with OKC they’ve probably would’ve made the Finals even without Westbrook.

            Dwight probably really thinks it’s his team but by the end of the season he’ll no who’s team it really is… though he’d likely start to cry about it too.

        • Mcado

          KDurant will be a GOAT.
          However, he will not be a MAMA.
          The big question for him will be staying focused for 5 more years.
          What make Kareem, Jordan, and Kobe for great is there consistent play over a long period of time.

      • Mcado

        2006 & 2007
        The fact that the Lakers got there with the Talent they had was AMAZING.
        Here is a simple truth if Kobe was not on that team the Lakers would have finished DEAD last in the NBA. –
        Instead they do make it to the NBA Playoffs – despite having 3 of the worst players and team mates in NBA history.

        Now that is what I call a GOAT. Not the GOAT but a GOAT. #33 is the GOAT.

  • Eddie Lazaro

    He wants to Win. He plays to Win. He knows how to Win. ‘nough said!