After a decade of near silence on the end of his partnership with Shaquille O’Neal, Los Angeles Lakers superstar Kobe Bryant finally said what so many never thought he would – that he regrets much of the behavior that led to the fracture of one of the league’s most talented and accomplished tandems in history. The five-time champion, though, apparently only came to realize the missteps of his youth after sharing the floor with yet another dominant, gregarious, and often criticized big man.
In another excerpt from his upcoming guest appearance on The Big Podcast with Shaq, Bryant said that playing alongside Dwight Howard during the Lakers’ ill-fated 2012-13 season is what made him “appreciate” his days with O’Neal. Courtesy of Per Sources Sports:
Until very recently, the argument could have been made that Bryant’s Lakers tenure with O’Neal ended in just as contentious a manner as his one with Howard.
2003-04 was an ugly year for Los Angeles all the way around, one that began with Bryant informing police of O’Neal’s infidelity while being questioned for an alleged rape and ended with the big man packing his bags for the Miami Heat after the Lakers lost to the Detroit Pistons in a dispiriting NBA Finals. The former teammates were hardly chummy during that season and the ensuing several years. There was a time not long ago, in fact, when it would be hard to believe Bryant nor O’Neal would ever publicly cop to mistakes of the past – let alone in a recorded conversation with one another.
But time heals wounds, and Bryant’s playing twilight has shown a side of the five-time champion rarely seen throughout his storied career. Even so, it’s become increasingly difficult to see him mending fences with Howard.