On “Inside the NBA”, Shaquille O’Neal made some interesting comments about his days as a Laker, most notably what caused the Shaq/Kobe duo to split and go their separate ways after three NBA titles together.
According to Shaq, it had nothing to do with his relationship with Kobe, but instead had to do with money and the fact that he refused to take $20 million a year that was offered to him compared to the $30 million he was asking from the Lakers.
In addition, Shaq says that he and Kobe would have won “five or six” rings together in total if they were able to stay together and continue their reign as one of the most feared duos in the league.
These comments are pretty significant in the sense that there has been a misconception around the league and amongst fans for years that Kobe ran Shaq out of Los Angeles and that the relationship between the two had deteriorated to the point of non-repair. That is not to say that there wasn’t tension between the two, but the situation may have been overblown if Shaq’s comments have truth to them.
If true, it is disappointing to hear that a $10 million pay cut was the driving force behind the demise of arguably one of the greatest duos in NBA history.