"I said I'll talk to him" – Shaquille O'Neal shares video of him recalling hilarious and iconic interaction with NBA legend Kobe Bryant

Shaquille O'Neal giving a speech at Kobe Bryant's memorial, A Celebration of Life
Shaquille O'Neal giving a speech at Kobe Bryant's memorial, A Celebration of Life

Shaquille O'Neal shared a funny story about Kobe Bryant at his memorial service, A Celebration of Life.

Having lost a brother, O'Neal spoke at Bryant's service with a heavy heart and shed a lot of tears in the process. He recalled a story in which Bryant refused to pass the ball to his teammates, and they were upset.

"The day Kobe gained my respect was ... The guys were complaining. They said 'Shaq, Kobe is not passing the ball.'" O'Neal said. "I said, 'I'll talk to him.' I said, 'Kobe there’s no ‘i’ in team.' Kobe said, 'I know, but there’s an ‘m-e’ in that motherf****r.' So I went back and told Rick (Fox and the other players) … 'just get the rebound. He’s not passing.'"

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The duo of O'Neal and Bryant is one of the best in NBA history. The superstar tandem three-peated with the LA Lakers from 2000 to 2002. The Lakers are one of just three teams in NBA history to win three championships in a row. O'Neal won the Finals MVP in all three championship runs, but the wins wouldn't have been possible without Bryant. "Big Diesel" averaged 35.7 points per game, and the "Black Mamba" averaged 22.3 points ppg in those Finals.

A Celebration of Life: Shaquille O'Neal tears up while remembering Kobe Bryant

Shaquille O'Neal giving a speech at Kobe Bryant's memorial, A Celebration of Life
Shaquille O'Neal giving a speech at Kobe Bryant's memorial, A Celebration of Life

Shaquille O'Neal gave a heartwarming speech about Kobe Bryant and how he cherished the time they spent playing together. The two players didn't always see eye to eye, and their somewhat strained relationship was well known. However, whenever the lights were the brightest and the stage was set, the two would get on the court and give 100%. O'Neal said:

"Yes, sometimes, like immature kids, we argued and fought. But make no mistake, when cameras were turned off, he and I would wink at each other and say let’s go whoop some a**."

O'Neal was one of the few people who had the privilege to speak at Bryant's memorial service. Kobe's wife, Vanessa Bryant; the legendary Michael Jordan; and late-night host Jimmy Kimmel also spoke. Kobe and Shaq shared a special bond, and both the legends have concurred that if they had continued playing together, the LA Lakers could have won more titles together.

"Never ever could I have imagined that I’d be here today," O’Neal said. "Kobe and I pushed one another to play some of the greatest basketball of all time. Kobe and I always maintained a deep respect and love for one another."
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Bryant will always be remembered as one of the fiercest competitors in NBA history and his relentless dedication to improving himself has resonated with athletes across all sports.

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Edited by Joseph Schiefelbein
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