NBA legends and former teammates bury the hatchet
- * In a showdown of sorts, Kobe Bryant appeared on ex-teammate Shaquille O’Neal’s podcast, “The Big Podcast with Shaq”. In an excerpt from the yet-to-be-broadcast episode, O’Neal is heard telling Bryant that he doesn’t hate him and he knows the converse is true too. Shaq tells Bryant that they were young and had a few disagreements, but that fuelled them and resulted in 3 Championships out of 4 finals.
Bryant (6’6”, 96 kgs) reminisced about his 21-year-old self almost getting in a brawl with O’Neal (7’1”, 147 kgs), which made him realise that he was more than a little hot-headed. Both agree that there should’ve been more championships between them and didn’t need to have it out in front of cameras, despite their “work beef”.
Bryant raised eyebrows as a teenager due to much more than just his skills on-court and not many were happy under his leadership as his career progressed. That notwithstanding, Bryant is known for his dedication and irreproachable work ethic, so his ire towards Shaq could very well be justified.
Describing each other as “Alpha Males”, the former Lakers’ Center admitted that there was bound to be friction between them, but that never did amount to hatred. Shaq also said that the tension could’ve been diffused at the time if they were more level-headed. The hors d’oeuvres are lip-smacking, so there’s no doubt the main course will leave us very sated. The entire podcast and other episodes can be found here.
- * In related news, Nigeria beat Angola (74-65) to clinch its first African basketball championship and booked a berth in the 2016 Olympics. This significantly raises the status of the sport in Nigeria, where football is the most popular sport. Chamberlain Oguchi top-scored with 19 points for Nigeria while Carlos Morais led the scoring for Angola with 15 points. This is the second time Nigeria have qualified for Olympic basketball.