Last week, we had a fantastic conversation with legendary basketball writer Jackie MacMullan who co-authored with Shaquille O'Neal his new book "Shaq Uncut: My Story." She laid out all the ups and downs of the extremely productive, extremely dramatic pairing of Shaq and Kobe Bryant during the three-peat years.
It's worth a listen if you haven't yet had a chance. She's great.
As part of his promotional tour, Shaq appeared on local television station KTLA (Channel 5), talking about his childhood (in my opinion the most interesting parts of the book), his time with the Lakers, Kobe, and more. In the process, he dropped this line about Bryant. "Based on what he's done, he's probably the greatest Laker of all time,'" O'Neal said. "If he gets another championship, he'll tie with Kareem [Abdul-Jabbar]. That will put him up there."
Is he being totally forthright when he says Kobe is the "greatest," over Cap, Magic Johnson, Jerry West, and so on? Maybe, maybe not. Could just be trying to sell books with a line he knows will make a great headline. But honestly, it doesn't really matter. First, it's hardly a ridiculous notion, and moreover MacMullan emphasized O'Neal's tremendous respect for Kobe the basketball player, despite all of their personality conflicts. Certainly on the floor the relationship (the widespread belief rings were left on the table notwithstanding) was undeniably successful.
Check out the video below and judge for yourself.