Shaquille O’Neal: My Fights With Kobe Bryant Were Orchestrated by Phil Jackson

ESPN: Shaquille O’Neal had a conversation with the Sacramento Bee’s Scott Howard-Cooper, which included some amazing insight about all that bickering with Kobe Bryant back in his Laker days:

I think it was all designed by Phil (Jackson). Because if you think about it, Phil never called us into the office and said, ”Both of you all, shut the (heck) up.” Never did that in four years. He knew that when I read something, I was going to get upset. And he knew Kobe was going to always come out and play hard. So I think it was all done by design.

You think he just wanted to light a fire under you guys?
Yeah. I think that’s exactly what it was. I think it was all done by design. Really. He never called us in a meeting and said, ”Shut up.” And basically, it was never a face-to-face … thing. It was always, he’d say something to you, I’d say something to another guy, I’d say something to you. That’s all it was.

Now that I look back on it, that (stuff) was kind of fun. It really was. It was kind of fun. ”What did he say, what did he say?” I tell people if we would have had a reality show, we’d have had the No. 1 reality show in the world. It was fun. It was actually fun. (Brian) Shaw would be, ”Oh, man, why did you say that?” And then Karl (Malone) would be like, ”Yo, that was (messed) up what you said.” Then we’d try to out-do each other in the game.

But while we were trying to out-do each other, the two best players in the game, we’re out-doing everyone by far.

Writer Roland Lazenby, who has followed just about the entirety of Phil Jackson’s coaching career, has been saying for ages that one must not undersell the notion that Phil Jackson plays a lot of psychological games.

I learned about this interview from Sactown Royalty, which highlighted a different amazing part of the talk, wherein Shaquille O’Neal has no idea who Spencer Hawes is.

Maybe he’s kidding. But I don’t think so.

Hawes is not even a rookie. He was a lottery pick. And he plays O’Neal’s position. I don’t think Hawes and O’Neal have played against each other, however — owing to the schedule, O’Neal’s trade last season, and the two players’ various injuries.

Jaime is the co-owner and Operating Director for LakerNation.com from Alhambra, CA. He's help create the official websites for Kevin Durant and Goodwin Sports. Currently, he's the Online Producer for FOX Sports Radio and AM570 KLAC.
  • RAZOR RAMON

    1st and probably only

  • dub824

    who is spencer hawes

  • Diehardfan

    Typical of Shaq to put the blame on someone else. When has Shaq EVER took responsibility for his actions and his comments. This has issues with wanting to be the center of attention. Now that the spotlight is not on him and Kobe and other players are the center of attention, he has to do something that will get people to notice him. He has a serious complex! I for one am tired of hearing about him!

  • gugy

    Shaq is done.

    The only way he can be news is when he talks about Kobe.
    Enough said.

  • http://ld2k.com Chris Manning

    Interesting part for me:

    Q: Could you and Kobe ever have existed together or did you have to go your separate ways?

    A: Yeah, we could have. We never had a problem. We never had a problem. I swear to God. On the court, we never had a problem.

    Q: Don’t even say that. Don’t even try.

    Hahaha!

  • http://www.myspace.com/dbricks David Brickley

    [Comment ID #54546 Will Be Quoted Here]

    AGREED

  • Vida8

    This man need to let things go. You just dont bring up this kinda stuff like every Bleepin weeks .
    He really need to move on with his life!!!!

  • DCLAKER

    I’m tired of this “Kobe can’t win without Shaq” crap(just like a lot of folks).What are they gonna say when Kobe wins that O’brien…they won’t say nuthin’ ’cause they’ll have his (expletive)in their mouths like,”oh Kobe your the greatest”…#@$% y’all.

    KINGKOBE.com,Shaq would’ve won a ring without Kobe or wade…anybody ever think of that?!?!

  • lyk13

    All these covering up….-_-

  • Kb_24mvp

    SHAQ IS A BUM!! HE IS TRYIN TO MESS UP THE LAKERS CHEMISTRY RIGHT NOW!!!

  • sketch

    yeah, yeah, yeah shaq…you cheating on your wife was also phil’s design right? IDIOT!!!! well you finally shut the hell up now!?!?!
    and don’t worry, spencer hawes probably don’t know who you are either since, you’re hardly ever on the floor during a game now!

  • lakers24

    wow he’s just saying this so kobe would think it’s phils fault and they could start fighting again he’s just jealous cuz he’s still not on the team and that the LAKERZ ARE 7-0

  • DCLAKER

    I meant to say Shaq ‘WOULDN’T’ have won without Kobe and Wade..Whew!

  • west213

    he is just desperate for some real LAKER attention

  • willow

    Who’s Shaq!?!?!

  • FAT Shaqy

    Did Phil orchastrate it when you open hand slapped Kobe in the mouth,… Shaq is a fat stupid idiot..

  • sketch

    the following things are also phil’s design:

    1.shaq’s obesity at 360 lbs.
    2.shaq’s miserable FT%.
    3.shaq’s diminishing game.
    4.shaq’s fading away into the sunset.
    5.shaq’s horrible rapping abilities.
    6.shaq’s desire to return to the lakers to kiss kobe’s ass…hey shaq, tell me how kobe’s ass taste?
    7.shaq’s flagrant foul on stuckey.

    i’m sure there’s a lot more that we all can add in there.

  • samantha

    spencer hawes? who is spencer hawes?