In Russia, Robert Horry suggests that originally, Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant got along beautifully until Phil Jackson intervened.
Horry has been in Russia and was interviewed by Sports.ru. On his blog Rush'n Hoops, journalist Alexander Chernykh has translated some of Horry's comments into English, including this:
I think Phil Jackson started that feud. It happened many times that after team practice he would say, “Kobe said this about Shaq, and Shaq said that about Kobe… We couldn’t believe how could that happen, because just the day before we saw them together, jumping on one another. Phil liked it when there was conflict of some sort.
I always tell people; if you look at those championships, you’ll see who were the closest players on the team. Normally those are the guys who are the first to hug each other. And when we were winning, it was always Shaq and Kobe who hugged. I think this will answer your question. Later it was blown out of proportion by the media and both players started doing something that didn’t make sense.
Horry also says Hakeem Olajuwon and Bryant are the best players he has ever played with. In the case of Bryant, he particularly credits his unmatched dedication.