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Shaq calls Kobe "probably the greatest Laker ever"

Jun 17, 2010, 6:05 PM EDT

Shaq and Kobe.jpg
Well, this was unexpected. Free agent center Shaquille O’Neal, formerly of the Magic, Lakers, Heat, Suns, and Cavaliers, recently sat down for an interview with Fox Sports Radio. During the interview, he had some extremely kind words for Kobe Bryant, with whom Shaq famously feuded both during and after O’Neal’s time with the Lakers:
“First, of all, [Kobe] is definitely a closer. Right now, he’s thought of as the greatest player in the Lakers history, surpassing Magic Johnson and Jerry West, especially if he wins this championship, he will probably go down as the greatest Laker ever…
The guys who are making [the comments that Bryant needs a MJ-like championship-winning shot to cement his legacy] and comparisons are obviously the guys who cannot play. The kid has 26,000 points, he passed Jerry West already. He’s on his way to winning his fifth title. He doesn’t need a signature closing move. It’s all about winning the championships, and like I said, if he wins this championship, he will go down as the greatest Laker ever.”

Shaq and Kobe have always vacillated between showing each other respect and throwing barbs at one another, but this seems like a genuine compliment from Shaq to Kobe. Presumably, this means that Shaq no longer wants Kobe to describe the texture and flavor of Mr. O’Neal’s hindquarters. 

  1. Michael Jordan - Jun 17, 2010 at 8:03 PM

    Kobe is good but not the greatest. I don’t know why people keep referring him to as “the best”.
    Magic Johnson and Michael Jordan won rookie of the year awards, multiple MVP awards. Kobe has won only one MVP award and has lost twice (possibly 3 times) in NBA finals.

  2. steve - Jun 17, 2010 at 8:17 PM

    magic lost 4 finals, and kobe should have been mvp more than once.

  3. raja - Jun 17, 2010 at 8:52 PM

    But Kobe didnt deserve all of his championships, the first ones were Shaq’s not his. He was at best to Shaq what Pippen was to Jordan in those days.

  4. Mack - Jun 18, 2010 at 12:30 AM

    Stop whining about Kobe busters….He’s got 5 rings and no superstar wins without help…. Stop hating because evidently you are all mad because he got another ring…And the team is good enough to do it again….

  5. e-bone - Jun 18, 2010 at 12:35 AM

    Shaq never played with Magic, the true best Laker ever.

  6. james - Jun 18, 2010 at 12:40 AM

    What? Kobe has 2 MVPS and 5 Titles

  7. Jude - Jun 18, 2010 at 12:42 AM

    Why is it so hard to see that Mr. Micheal Jordan Has a college Championship, 6 for 6 Championship trophies and M.V.P’s… There is no comparison to being undefeated without an assembled team might I add.. The man is 1000 percent in championship games and could have possibly been 8 and 0 (took a little Vacation) Hell, the league probably asked him to…. get real Kobe (ShaQ) if he had attended college would not be surpassing other Laker greats, But I’m sure you don”t see the obvious…

  8. Cesar - Jun 18, 2010 at 12:45 AM

    Well now it’s 2 MVP’s and 5 Championships.
    Its funny that when Someone like Kobe, or even Jerry West himself calls Kobe the greatest Laker ever you get many people coming up to say otherwise. Simple numbers give him 5 Championships and 2 Finals MVP’s. Everybody called LeBron the next Jordan and the best player in the NBA and how he will go down as the greatest ever; not many people dispute this. They take it as a fact and accept it. He has 0 Championships and 0 Finals MVP awards. The NBA is still waiting for that moment, and it has not come yet, but everybody acts like it has.
    Personally, I think that Magic was not only the best Laker, but also most talented basketball player to have ever played the game. It only took him one season to win a championship, and he made all his teammates better players when he was on the court.

  9. Ugo Iwuoha - Jun 18, 2010 at 12:53 AM

    I believe Kobe (if he continues to evoke maturity and leadership), will eventually exceed the accomplishments of Michael Jordan, who from his comments above, may be seen as being nervous that Kobe will most likely surpass him. Jordan should acknowledge Kobe’s achievements and improvements. It would be classier for Michael Jordan to play the role of a good father (or big brother (like Shaq is doing), who encourages and motivates the son or younger one, and hopes he surpasses him. Mike, sometimes you got to think beyond yourself, for a progressive future is about betterment.

  10. y'all_crazy - Jun 18, 2010 at 12:56 AM

    First of all, Magic has no Rookie of the Year trophy, Bird won it that year.
    Second, if you give some of Kobe’s championships to Shaq, which makes some sense because Shaq was MVP of the Finals those years, then you have to give one of Magic’s to Kareem (1985) and another to James Worthy (1988).
    The ones where Magic was MVP? Well, he was on the same team with Jabbarm and then Jabbar and Worthy. That’s one or two *other Hall of Famers in the lineup with him.* So the idea that Kobe’s had help but Magic did it by himself is ridiculous
    I’m not saying there isn’t a case to be made for other Lakers being the greatest of all time, and I don’t think Kove is. The reasons you people are giving for having your opinions tend to disagree with reality.
    Now, if you want to know who the best Laker of all time was, I say Elgin Baylor for averaging 23+ points per game, and over 13 boards a game *when he was only 6-5*. Stats, not who was on the team with them when they won championships, should be what we look at if we are trying to figure out the best player, right?
    Feel free to disagree….but lease do it backing your opinion up with facts if you do :)

  11. Anonymous - Jun 18, 2010 at 1:16 AM

    Some good points but stats don’t tell the whole story. Winning games n championships do. To that guy saying shaq won those 3 ur a jackass. Try playing a team sport for a while n you’ll realize how stupid it sounds to say those are shaqs championships. To the guy comparing Shaq and Kobe to Jordan and Pippen. Get off this forum n go educate urself if you’re gonna talk basketball. Pippen and Kobe were both great players at those times. This isn’t 1 on 1 or NBA Jam kids. This is real professional team basketball. Jordan had a hell of a team back then and excellent shooters. Don’t state an opinion unless you’ve actually seen the games. You kids r making fools of yourselves on here. Nobody wants to hear you go on about sumthin you obviously don’t know much about.

  12. Anonymous - Jun 18, 2010 at 1:23 AM

    Lol I apologize u were talkin about Magic Johnson my bad dude.

  13. Harold Brookens - Jun 18, 2010 at 1:23 AM

    Shaq laid it out for all to see. Whether one believes it or not is of no concern. This is Kobe’s era. And at this moment he and the Lakers are the best. And winning 5 championships in this era, with two MVP awards, against the competition and talent in the league today, makes Kobe’s achievements incomparable to the talent of previous era’s.

  14. Laker observer - Jun 18, 2010 at 3:33 AM

    Derek Fisher is the greatest Laker ever. Period.
    Just because you aren’t the lead man doesn’t mean you aren’t the leader.
    And without D. Fish the Lakers would have been a footnote in basketball history.

  15. DK - Jun 18, 2010 at 5:47 AM

    As Shaq rightly mentioned the people who down play Kobe’s achievements are mostly the ones who haven’t played basket ball. Kobe is 2 times finals MVP now and with 5 rings, he is almost there to be called as one of the greats and not just “good”.

  16. BP - Jun 18, 2010 at 6:27 AM

    Magic is the best player ever !! There’s no question !!! He would have won more Championsships than MJ if he could have played some more years. AND: Could MJ play all 5 positions ? NO ! Did he ever have e Finals Game as Magics 42 points, 15 rebounds and seven assists in Game 6 of the 1980 Finals ? And this as a center and not at his natural position ? NO ! Stop talking about the best ever: There’s only one MAGIC….

  17. Anonymous - Jun 18, 2010 at 10:32 AM

    Kobe has 5 rings at 31 years young… Michael won his 5th championship at 35 years old. Kobe has 5 more years to equal 6 championships at 36 years old. “WORLD CHAMPIONS” Go Paul Pierce!!! He disappeared at crunch time. So he said he was not coming back to LA after game 2. He should not have two choke games!!! He might as well go retire now!! And the Celtics would have won iwth Perkins is unbeleivable. Wallace had more offensive points than Perkins would have when points were at a premium. Hitting 3 pointers at the end of the game. Yes and we would have had a three peat if Bynum was healthy in 2008. Would of could of should of. Lakers are the 2010 CHAMPS!!!

  18. Michael Fiore - Jun 18, 2010 at 10:33 AM

    Magic never won a championship without Kareem on his team—sure he won 1 finals game vs an inferior team up 3-2 when Kareem got hurt his rookie year but other then that he never won a championship without Kareem—-Kobe has 2 without his big man

  19. JE Smith - Jun 18, 2010 at 2:00 PM

    Magic was the better Team Player and floor leader then Kobe. Kobe is just now learning how to be a team player, his floor leadership is in question. Shag was never a floor leader but a go to guy like Kareem, only Kareem had better skills. None of them could lead like Bill Russell, the greatest floor leader ever.

  20. champton - Jun 18, 2010 at 6:33 PM

    Ok it’s ova and done with K.O.B.E has 5 rings. Jordan has 6 W.O.W! Same squad he had for six years now think about if Kobe has this repeat back with Phil. Phil is the key faux wat u say and gotta say the man has 11 coaching rings. Now he’s the best! Yea you can compare Mike amd Kobe all day but i agree Mike used and trusted his team mentally. Kobe didn’t use that until this season but I state that Kobe is more physical than Mike. There it goes Mike’s mentally and Kobe’s physically. And yes snice Kobe hasn’t retired and still has 5 yrs to go , i see at least two or better if Kobe learns the mentally of trust for his team more clearly. And everyone shouts King James wat the hell is goin on Cavs yall need to just let him go cuz if you cnt get a ring before your 5th seasoning somethings wrong Bron BRON just go talk to Phil and ask him will he help you by signing a 3 yrs contarct.

  21. romesworld - Jun 18, 2010 at 7:42 PM

    good point the coach is a point and factor….

  22. Mike B. - Jun 18, 2010 at 9:55 PM

    The Lakers won the title legitimately. So what if Perkins wasn’t in the lineup, Bynum wasn’t there for the ’08.And He played only about 19 minutes in this one.Besides, Kobe has played hurt the WHOLE YEAR! No excuses. If you say it isn’t fair to have so many tall player for the Lakers, maybe it isn’t so fair to have 3 hall of famers on one team either. Also, if you say Pau Gasol was a gift for the Lakers, what was KG for the Celtics? Minnesota did’t exactly make out on that deal.Last night, the best team won last night, not on stats, but on willingness. That’s why this is the sweetest one.

  23. Ramon - Jun 20, 2010 at 9:39 AM

    All I have to say is that shaq was on the magic with Penny Hardaway, horace grant, and nick anderson all talented players.And even tougher in the paint wit shaq and grant and he still couldn’t win a ring.It took him to go to L.A and play with kobe 2 get a ring.

  24. Laker-Hater - Jun 21, 2010 at 10:07 AM

    My question is how many championships did Kobe cost L.A.? Starting with the 2004 championships. The media questioned how Kobe would play after being in court all day in Colorado and flying to the games, he was in top form. But games Kobe was rested for he threw bricks including the final game of the series where the Pistons took the title. I believe Kobe threw the game on purpose. He pushes Phil Jackson out and so goes Shaq and I become a Laker-Hater until Kobe leaves. So we should have won 2004 and probably could have won 2005 if it had not been for Kobe’s immaturity, forget about ’06 ’07 & ’08. And even though Shaq says Kobe’s probably the best Laker ever Kobe’s immaturity comes to the surface when asked about his five Championship Rings Kobe says “I have one more than Shaq”. What a CHUMP!

  25. EL EUGENE - Jul 10, 2010 at 12:34 PM

    Why are people so Hell bent on denying Kobe his due? It amazes me that anytime a comparison to the greatest ever basketball player (Michael Jordan in most peoples eyes) Kobe is the next standard! The closest thing that we have ever seen to Jordan,(any arguments,I think not.)so please stop with the ridiculous and non sensical statements that Kobe is not at the very least the 2nd best player to ever lace up a pair of sneakers. I put to all of you Kobe haters that this young fella has done things that even MJ has not done! It’s not that one is better than the other they just have accomplished great things in diffrent ways. Kobe is no less a player than Mike! Hell even Magic has said Kobe is the greatest Laker! If you cant accept it from him then your unfounded dislike for Kobe can only be personal,and that’s no foundation for making a statement on him a as professional basketball player.

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