Watch: Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant reunite at the 2009 All-Star game and are named co-MVPs, on this day 13 years ago

Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O'Neal - co-MVPs at the 2009 All-Star Game
Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O'Neal - co-MVPs at the 2009 All-Star Game

On this day thirteen years ago, the late Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal reunited at the 2009 All-Star Game, suiting up for Team West. Shaquille O’Neal played for the Phoenix Suns back then, in his 17th season with the league.

Meanwhile, Kobe Bryant played for the Los Angeles Lakers, featuring in his 11th All-Star appearance in Phoenix.

Kobe Bryant finished third in voting, behind big-man Dwight Howard and forward LeBron James, with 2.8 million votes.

Shaquille O’Neal garnered 1.8 million fan votes, missing out on the starter position, but still made an impact–playing alongside his former teammate for the first time since parting ways.

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In a high-scoring game for the West, Kobe Bryant played 29 minutes, scoring 27 points, along with four rebounds, four assists and four steals.

His ex-partner Shaquille O’Neal recorded 17 points and 5 rebounds in just 11 minutes, shooting an efficient 88.9% from the field.

LeBron James led Team East in scoring with 20 points, but as a unit they could not match the offensive outburst displayed by Team West.

With a final score of 146-119, Team West came out on top at the U.S. Airways Center–in the 2009 All-Star Game.

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The duo of Bryant and O’Neal linked up quite a few times throughout the game, turning back the clock to when they played for the Lakers. But what made the night even more memorable for the pair was sharing the All-Star MVP award.

They showed the league exactly why they were champions together. When asked about playing with each other after such a long time, both of them mentioned how it was really fun, saying:

Bryant: “It was fun. Phil diagrammed a couple of plays for us to play a two-man game together, again.’’
O’Neal: “It felt like old times, I miss those times. He was really looking for me, especially when we went to a pick and roll and they had Rashard Lewis on me.”

The Kobe Bryant–Shaquille O’Neal duo was something else

Bryant and O’Neal are widely considered one of the best duos in the game's history. They won three championships together, between 1999 and 2002.

Shaquille O’Neal was signed to the Lakers the same year that Kobe Bryant was selected via the NBA Draft by the Charlotte Hornets.

Bryant was later traded to the Lakers, on draft night itself. It took them a while to get deep into the playoffs, but once they did–it resulted in a three-peat.

Their well-known feud arose from both of them wanting a dominant role in the offense, and O’Neal did not like how Bryant wouldn’t pass the ball. That escalated into O’Neal getting traded to the Miami Heat prior to the 2004-05 season.

The 2009 All-Star game was a mark of the feud between the two being buried, which they later discussed multiple times over the years. This duo is one that makes you wonder what would have been had they not separated.

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