Is this the biggest indication yet that the fissure between two of the greatest Lakers…two of the greatest NBAers…of all time is being bridged?
With 28 points (in a losing effort) last night, Kobe Bryant passed his former teammate and media adversary, Shaquille O’Neal, for fifth on the NBA’s all-time scoring list.
Before a very public airing of grievances, culminating in Shaq famously asking Kobe how his…ahem…rear end tastes, the duo, arguably the greatest 1-2 punch ever, led the Lakers to three consecutive titles in 2000, 2001, and 2002. But an unsettled foundation crumbled immediately following the 2004 NBA Finals loss to Detroit.
I always regarded the pair’s verbal jabs as that wrestling match between a kid and his brother on the living room floor. It all starts out as friendly sparring, but then one dude gets in a good groinal shot and it is on.
Kobe’s rape trial seemed to be said groinal shot, as it has always been alleged that Kobe remarked to police something along the lines of he should have paid off his ladies to keep their mouths shut, like O’Neal. Yikes.
So anyway, there was all that, then Shaq with Miami and the “tell me how my you-know-what tastes” rap, then Kobe wins back-to-back titles and takes his “one more than Shaq poke” in the media…etc., etc. So it was interesting to see how quickly Shaq took to Twitter and the airwaves last night to congratulate Bryant on his achievement.
But take a listen to Shaq’s praise. Interesting that he tips his cap to Kobe’s family not once, but twice, just – what 6 weeks? – after Bryant’s divorce to wife Vanessa went public. Well played, Mr. O’Neal: