After LeBron James and Anthony Davis won the 2020 NBA championship in purple and gold, thoughts of Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant populated the minds of many LA Lakers fans. According to ESPN’s Ohm Youngmisuk, however, O’Neal doesn’t want that comparison.
"There will never be the next [Shaq and Kobe]," O'Neal said.
Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant led the LA Lakers to three straight titles from 2000 to 2002, dominating the league like few before them.
Shaquille O’Neal wants LeBron James and Anthony Davis to have their own identity as an LA Lakers duo
The LA Lakers captured a title 10 years after the franchise’s last championship and 18 years since Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant last won the Larry O’Brien Trophy together.
With the LA Lakers repeatedly finding success in the combination of a perimeter player and a center, it was inevitable that LeBron James' and Anthony Davis’ partnership would be compared to former legendary duos’ legacies of decades past.
But Shaquille O’Neal is adamant that the comparison should not be made, preferring instead to let LeBron James and Anthony Davis make a name for themselves.
"We don't need them to catch up to us," O'Neal said. "Kobe and myself were not trying to catch Magic [Johnson] and Kareem [Abdul-Jabbar] ... Kobe and I, [our] legacy will never be duplicated. Or imitated."
"We don't want to get into the situation where they can be the next us because there will never be a next us," O'Neal added. "Magic and Kareem can never be us. We could never be Magic and Kareem. And we can never be LeBron and AD."
Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar won five titles together with the LA Lakers during the 1980s. Their partnership became the standard for future superstar duos to wear the Lakers’ colors. Just as LeBron James and Anthony Davis are being compared to Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant, the latter two were compared to Magic and Kareem before them.
Shaquille O’Neal on what Kobe Bryant would have thought of Lakers’ 2020 title
In the interview by ESPN, Shaquille O’Neal also shared what he believes Kobe Bryant would have thought of LeBron James and Anthony Davis winning the 2020 title.
"After all that we went through [in 2020], it was a good ending for them to win the championship," O'Neal said. "I am sure if [Bryant] was still here, he would definitely be proud and showing his love and support on social media."
Kobe Bryant and his daughter along with a few other individuals perished in a helicopter crash in January. The world mourned as the LA Lakers legend died when he was reaching new heights of popularity outside of the NBA.
As Shaquille O’Neal's and Kobe Bryant’s shadows loom over LeBron James and Anthony Davis, the newest LA Lakers superstar duo’s future accomplishments will no doubt be compared to those of future generations’ exploits.
Such is how basketball pundits, fans, and the media think and will likely remain for as long as the sport endures.Published 17 Dec 2020, 08:42 IST