Shaquille O’Neal Regrets Famous Feud With Kobe Bryant: ‘I Just Should Have Called’

Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant waged one of the crucial well-known feuds in NBA historical past for years, just for the previous Los Angeles Lakers to slowly make up — after which Bryant to die in a helicopter crash in 2020. Regardless that their relationship improved earlier than Bryant’s demise, O’Neal has big regrets.

“You put off [getting in touch],” O’Neal instructed Folks. “I’ll never get to see Kobe again, in real life, forever. And I just should have called. He should have called. We both should have called. But he’s working, I’m working, so it’s ‘I’ll see you when I see you.’”

Whereas they received three NBA championships as fellow Lakers from 1996 to 2004, their dynastic reign was marked by what coach Phil Jackson referred to as a “juvenile” feud that included competing over jersey gross sales and public swipes to the press, per Lakers Nation.

O’Neal in the end demanded to be traded and left the Lakers for the Miami Warmth in 2004. Whereas thousands and thousands mourned the top of that pairing, the two were eventually able to put their differences aside. Bryant’s demise on Jan. 26, 2020, nevertheless, led O’Neal to mirror on their relationship.

“[I thought], ‘We’re both going to get old. We’ll both be at the 50-year Lakers anniversary,’” O’Neal instructed Folks. “Other things shouldn’t have been more important [than getting in touch], but little things [got in the way].”

Shaquille O’Neal (left) and Kobe Bryant have been in a position to put their variations apart earlier than Bryant’s tragic demise.

Kevork Djansezian by way of Getty Pictures

O’Neal, who’s the topic of the four-part HBO docuseries “Shaq” that premieres this week, determined to implement a significant life change simply after Bryant’s demise. He stated on “The Big Podcast With Shaq” that he wished to “delete my beef and confrontation clause” and not have any lingering conflicts in his life as a result of “you never know.”

When he eulogized his former teammate at a celebration of life occasion in February 2020, O’Neal admitted that “Kobe and I had a very complex relationship” however likened it to that of John Lennon and Paul McCartney, who made “some of the greatest music of all time.”

“Kobe and I pushed one another to play some of the greatest basketball of all time,” O’Neal stated. “And, yes, sometimes, like immature kids, we argued. … But make no mistake, even when folks thought we were on bad terms, when the cameras were turned off, he and I would throw a wink at each other and say, ‘Let’s go whoop some ass.’”

In the long run, O’Neal instructed Those who not sufficient time has handed but for him to correctly course of his pal’s demise. As evident by his rapid choice to eradicate any lingering beefs, nevertheless, O’Neal didn’t want a lot time to instill one observe that he recommends for others too.

“Call your mom,” he instructed Folks. “Call your brother. Call the homeboy you used to party with in college. Forever is a long time.”