Somehow, Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant managed to win three NBA championships together, despite blending about as well as peanut butter and lighter fluid.
Although their relationship was strained, at least one future Hall of Famer in the duo has an appreciation for what his partner has accomplished.
"I would say, based on what he’s done, he’s probably the greatest Laker of all time now," O’Neal said on KTLA. "If he gets another championship, he’d be tied with Kareem [Abdul-Jabbar], and that would probably really, really put him up there."
(Abdul-Jabbar won six NBA rings, but one of his championships came with the Bucks. Bryant has won five rings with the Lakers, so another title for Bryant would move him — and possibly teammate Derek Fisher — past Abdul-Jabbar, Michael Cooper and Magic Johnson, who all have five rings.)
O’Neal’s comments were a surprise, since the Big Aristotle’s personal feelings toward the Black Mamba are infamous. Bryant is just one of a number of NBA players O’Neal bashes in his new book.
As O’Neal elaborated, however, he clarified that he was not necessarily ranking Bryant above him on the list of greatest Lakers.
"I’m a big man, so I just did big man stuff," O’Neal said. "I’m just in the ‘big man’ category."