Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal were never exactly friends, but the turning point in their relationship has been reported to be when Bryant and O’Neal publicly disagreed over how O’Neal handled a toe injury heading into the 2002-03 season.
With the Lakers coming off three consecutive championships, O’Neal decided to rest on "company time," which really bothered Bryant. Bryant’s maniacal work ethic and domineering personality with his teammates is well documented, and it annoyed him that he was viewed as the Robin to O’Neal’s Batman.
To combat this perception, Bryant — who was signed to Adidas at the time — told his teammates that he would give them free gear if they passed him the ball more than they passed to O’Neal, according to former teammate Robert Horry (via Mark Medina of the L.A. Daily News):
Robert Horry said Kobe told teammates when Shaq was injured in 02-03 season that he'd give his teammates Adidas gear if he kept getting ball