Kobe Bryant – Shaquille O'Neal feud

Kobe Bryant – Shaquille O'Neal Feud

Kobe Bryant – Shaquille O'Neal feud

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The "Kobe Bryant – Shaquille O'Neal feud" (or "Kobe – Shaq feud") is the rivalry between National Basketball Association (NBA) players Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O'Neal, who played together on the Los Angeles Lakers team from 1996 to 2004.

The two were able to win 3 consecutive NBA Championships (2000, 2001, 2002) and make an NBA Finals appearance in 2004. Personal differences and arguments over their respective roles on the Lakers were followed by a trade that sent O'Neal to the Miami Heat while Bryant was re-signed as a free agent by the Lakers. Lakers head coach Phil Jackson would later write a book entitled A Team in Search of Its Soul, reflecting on the troubles Bryant and O'Neal had during their last season together.

Origins: 1996–1999

In 1996, the Los Angeles Lakers signed free agent All-Star center Shaquille O'Neal after freeing up salary by trading established center Vlade Divac and parting with other veteran players. That same year, they acquired the draft rights to high school player Kobe Bryant from the Charlotte Hornets in the Divac trade. No NBA team had previously drafted a guard straight from high school. Bryant kept his teammates at a distance, answering non-basketball questions with one- or two-word responses. O'Neal told the Lakers when Bryant arrived,...
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