The Shaquille O’Neal-Kobe Bryant Los Angeles Lakers had been simply one of many best groups in NBA historical past, successful three straight championships. However O’Neal believes they may have gained greater than double that if they’d stayed collectively longer.
O’Neal appeared this week on Showtime’s “All The Smoke” podcast. In the course of the episode, the Corridor of Fame large man was requested what number of extra rings he may have gained with Bryant had they stayed collectively in Los Angeles.
“Seven,” O’Neal replied. “The explanation why I received traded, it wasn’t about me and Kobe beef. It was that they needed me to take much less cash. I’m not doing that. I received cash, I had cash. I simply ought to’ve been like, ‘All proper, I raised you sufficient. It’s your workforce now.’ I do know what I’m gonna do. I’m nonetheless gonna do my 28 [points] and 10 [rebounds].
“However I used to be like, “Nah, I need 150 [million dollars],” added O’Neal. “If I needed to do it over again, I most likely would have had a gathering with the [Buss] household. ‘What y’all wanna do? Need me to take much less cash, take a lesser function, and keep right here? Otherwise you nonetheless need me to be Shaq?’ See, it’s that ego. The ego nonetheless received me what I needed. I nonetheless went to Miami. Pat [Riley] took care of me, and I nonetheless gained one. However I’d’ve favored to remain there the remainder of my profession.”
Certainly, O’Neal gained one other NBA title with dynamic guard Dwyane Wade and the Warmth in 2006 after being traded to Miami. Bryant would additionally go on to win two extra rings with the Lakers as soon as they acquired one other dominant large man in Pau Gasol. However successful one other 4 championships collectively most likely would have been a stretch.
The Lakers’ supporting solid round O’Neal and Bryant was growing old after Los Angeles got here up brief within the 2004 Finals with Karl Malone and Gary Payton. Head coach Phil Jackson additionally left the Lakers after that season, though he did later return for one more six seasons of teaching Los Angeles. Lastly, rivals within the Western Convention such because the San Antonio Spurs, Phoenix Suns, and Dallas Mavericks had been solely getting stronger within the mid-2000s.
The O’Neal-Bryant partnership was all the time considerably precarious as effectively. However it’s positively typically enjoyable to surprise what extra may have been there.