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Robert Horry says Shaq vs. Kobe feud was all Phil Jackson

Jan 23, 2012, 3:21 PM EDT

Lakers v Nets Getty Images

Who was the big culprit in the Kobe Bryant vs. Shaquille O’Neal feud that broke up the Lakers? Was it the Type A personality of Kobe driving the wedge? Did Shaq need to be “the man” so bad that he held back Kobe (Shaq wouldn’t learn to share the spotlight until Miami)?

Robert Horry will choose Door No. 3 — Phil Jackson.

Here is what Horry, a member of those Lakers teams, told out of Russia, as translated to English (via TrueHoop).

I think Phil Jackson started that feud. It happened many times that after team practice he would say, “Kobe said this about Shaq, and Shaq said that about Kobe… We couldn’t believe how could that happen, because just the day before we saw them together, jumping on one another. Phil liked it when there was conflict of some sort.

I always tell people; if you look at those championships, you’ll see who were the closest players on the team. Normally those are the guys who are the first to hug each other. And when we were winning, it was always Shaq and Kobe who hugged. I think this will answer your question. Later it was blown out of proportion by the media and both players started doing something that didn’t make sense.

My take — Jackson fanned the flames but he was not the instigator. As author Roland Lazenby said, this feud was going on before Jackson arrived in Los Angeles. These were (and still are) two massive egos that did not share the team well. Jackson used that to his advantage at times and especially sided with Shaq — that was Shaq’s locker room at the time and Jackson couldn’t lose it. So he’d smack Kobe in public a little for Shaq’s amusement.

This was not all Phil. He played a part, for sure. But he did not start it.

  1. obamablowz - Jan 23, 2012 at 3:23 PM

    Wow, this would have been so fun to read,10 years ago!

    • zblott - Jan 23, 2012 at 3:47 PM

      You could read about it 8 years ago in Phil Jackson’s “The Last Season,” and it made it pretty clear who the culprit was.

  2. sebstos29 - Jan 23, 2012 at 3:45 PM

    interesting to know, but a bit old story. time of release wasn’t january 23 2002 ?

  3. bearsstillsuck - Jan 23, 2012 at 4:16 PM

    Who cares anymore, besides Russians apparently.

  4. makjak2 - Jan 23, 2012 at 5:16 PM

    Kurt, how can you definitively say Horry is wrong as if your word trumps that of someone who was part of those teams and was as close to the people involved as possible?

    • willardj - Jan 23, 2012 at 9:59 PM

      Because he’s a blogger and bloggers always know more than coaches and players.

    • mytthor - Jan 24, 2012 at 1:22 AM

      He didn’t say definitely, he said it was his take.

  5. 1historian - Jan 24, 2012 at 9:23 AM


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