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Quote of the Day: Kobe admits he thought Shaq was lazy

Mar 25, 2014, 5:55 PM EDT

Los Angeles Lakers' center Shaquille O'Neal (L) la Getty Images

“It used to drive me crazy that he was so lazy. You got to have the responsibility of working every single day. You can’t skate through s—-.”

Kobe Bryant talking about Shaquille O’Neal in a profile of him in the latest edition of The New Yorker

You should go read the entire article, this is one quote pulled from a fantastic longer piece. The article profiles Kobe as he prepares both for the last couple years of his career — he says he doesn’t plan to play after this contract. Kobe also talks about being focused on a successful life after basketball, about building a business empire and putting his energies and focus toward that. He talks about growing up in Italy and how he got to where he is now.

As you would expect in one of America’s best magazines, the piece is well written and researched. It doesn’t really break any new ground or new news, at least for people who are big NBA fans or around the game. It paints the Kobe/Shaq mess for what it was — they both were at fault, the egotistical O’Neal and the immature Kobe (who has an ego as well). Shaq and Kobe didn’t get along, Phil Jackson tried to keep them on the same page but he had sided more with Shaq because that was Shaq’s locker room and the other veterans were with him. Jackson made the only play he could, and yet was able to patch his relationship with Kobe upon his return. Kobe’s maturation during the Pau Gasol years is highlighted, his desire to be a leader and how that changed him, plus a lot of attention on what is next.

Just go read the entire thing.

  1. casualcommenter - Mar 25, 2014 at 6:04 PM

    Didn’t Shaq once say, “If I get hurt on company time, I rehab on company time,” when asked why he delayed a necessary surgery until near the start of the regular season, instead of getting the surgery done earlier and rehabbing during the offseason?

    Shaq was a great player, and he competed hard in games and took a lot of punishment from intentional fouls. That being said, he wasn’t a guy who spent the offseason devoted to staying in shape and adding to his game. He had fun and worked on expanding his brand in the offseason.

    • casualcommenter - Mar 25, 2014 at 6:10 PM

      (Didn’t mean to hit post so early)

      So I wouldn’t call Shaq “lazy,” but I wouldn’t call him a guy who was fully committed to maximizing his potential every year either. He worked hard in the season but had limited commitment in the offseason compared to players like Jordan, Kobe, LeBron, Durant, etc, who clearly worked on expanding their games most offseasons of their careers.

    • spursareold - Mar 25, 2014 at 6:24 PM

      Those fouls would have stopped immediately if he were even a 70% FT shooter, not that high of a bar, I feel.

    • asimonetti88 - Mar 25, 2014 at 7:05 PM

      Yes, Shaq said that. Kobe said that that incident is what really started the issues between him and Shaq. He said he believed it cost them a fourth championship.

      • sportsfan18 - Mar 25, 2014 at 8:05 PM

        Just look up the stats in the 2004 Finals and you’ll see who lost the Lakers their 4th title…

        http://www.basketball-reference.com/playoffs/NBA_2004_finals.html

      • fanofthegame79 - Mar 25, 2014 at 9:30 PM

        Sportsfan, that’s a great site. Sure wasn’t Shaq that cost them anything. Hell, if you look, Walton is just a smidge behind Kobe in the overall score – and the same offensive rating (90). Shaq is the only reason Kobe has those three rings; 3-time Finals MVP speaks volumes. Not co-MVP….the only MVP. As for anyone saying Shaq didn’t better his game in the off-season – look how historic his career was in spite of your perception. The only knock against him is his free throw percentage, which isn’t the worst in terms of great centers.

      • blackman24 - Mar 25, 2014 at 9:42 PM

        These two idiots sportsfan and fanofthegame are clueless. Shaq is referring to the 2003 when LA had a chance to win their 4th ring and 4 in a row if Shaq didn’t prolong his surgery. Yeah, we know Kobe had a rough series in 04, you keep posting the same silly stats everyday, stats don’t win Championships, the players do.

      • borderline1988 - Mar 25, 2014 at 10:36 PM

        ‘stats dont win championships, players do’

        That’s a really dumb comment..

      • ranfan12 - Mar 26, 2014 at 6:54 PM

        ” Shaq is the only reason Kobe has those three rings;”
        They would’ve lost out on a couple without Horry and Fisher, and that lob from Kobe to Shaq againt the trailblazers. Come on now lol

  2. provguard - Mar 25, 2014 at 6:13 PM

    The mouth has spoken. Just retire Kobe…

    • money2long - Mar 25, 2014 at 9:06 PM

      Why should Kobe retire

      • superspanky36 - Mar 26, 2014 at 9:12 AM

        Because he gets 25 million to sit on the bench and be on twitter? He’s old and hurt, can’t stay on he court at all without getting hurt, and the team could put that money to far better use.

      • money2long - Mar 26, 2014 at 6:22 PM

        so ur making this judgement off of a year time period ? do we forget kobe’s body of work ? everyone who supports the notion kobe should RETIRE is a fool.

  3. spursareold - Mar 25, 2014 at 6:20 PM

    I can’t ever recall a more disfunctional pairing of superstars, and I’ve been following the NBA for more than 30 years. Shaq and Kobe were together for 8 years by my count, 96-97 to 03-04, both were First Team All NBA caliber players for large stretches of that time, and they won 3 titles. They should have had 5 or 6 and could have, had they been able to work together regularly without squabbling or sniping at each other in the press.

    • apkyletexas - Mar 25, 2014 at 7:46 PM

      No they shouldn’t have had “5 or 6″ titles. The Spurs were quite a bit better than them a number of those years. And Detroit demolished them in 5 games – not even close.

      In fact, an argument can easily be made that if not for Robert Horry they would have only had 2 rings.

    • kanemoney - Mar 25, 2014 at 8:48 PM

      The fact that your comment has some merit is my biggest gripe with the game. Put 2 top talents together and there should immediately be a dynasty. Then it’s just the dynasty team versus everyone else during their run. It would be been profoundly cathartic for the NBA is the Spurs had won last year.

      I guess it’s debatable though. The NBA loves the superstar / messiah. The NBA has basically had the coronation Lebron as the next MJ.

      At the same time, teams are lighting themselves on fire and tanking for high draft picks. And most of us are somewhat cool with it. Because we see your point. If you have 2 or 3 guys in the top 20, you are predestined to win something.

      Thank god for the Spurs, Mavericks and Pistons for being the anti-MJ teams over the past decade. I will remember them.

      • antistratfordian - Mar 25, 2014 at 9:10 PM

        That is disrespectful to Tim Duncan. He qualifies as a superstar / messiah type of player – with the volume turned down a little bit. Plus Tony Parker and Manu and Pop are all going to be in the Hall of Fame. So the Spurs are more like MJ teams than not.

      • fanofthegame79 - Mar 25, 2014 at 9:37 PM

        Thank you anti. The Mavericks and the Pistons were anti-MJ teams because they only won one title so they wouldn’t even qualify as a dynasty. And of course if you put 2-3 of the top 20 players in the league on one team, they’re going to win something. That’s 40-60% of a starting lineup – that’s a huge number.

    • money2long - Mar 25, 2014 at 9:07 PM

      The press has nothing to do with the basketball court

  4. antistratfordian - Mar 25, 2014 at 6:37 PM

    Isn’t this common knowledge? If Shaq took the regular season seriously he’d probably have 5 MVPs instead of 1.

  5. topdawg4ever - Mar 25, 2014 at 6:56 PM

    Wish Kobe would just shut up already.

    • asimonetti88 - Mar 25, 2014 at 7:07 PM

      Kobe didn’t come to your house, corner you in your room and start talking about this. You consciously made the choice to read it.

      • miamatt - Mar 25, 2014 at 7:13 PM

        Totally. These guys answer questions for reporters (often mandated by the league), and then they get people saying they need to shut up. There is a big difference between answering a question and walking the streets with a megaphone.

      • money2long - Mar 25, 2014 at 9:08 PM

        Lol Matt.

  6. bballhistorian - Mar 25, 2014 at 7:11 PM

    The fact that Kobe still talks about this, i think both him (and Shaq) are starting to realize what couldve been if they both put ego’s aside. Those two will forever be linked…forever.

    That being said there’s a youtube video of a Jerry West interview (around 2002-2004) where West was asked what he thought of Kobe’s career at that point (remember, this was pre-Shaq breakup), and West said “I think Kobe will look back many years from now and appreciate the type of team that he had around him during this run.”

    • money2long - Mar 25, 2014 at 9:09 PM

      Which is why Kobe wasn’t so sad to see shaq leave. Kobe had his number changed. Became a new man. His game changed. He became a better player. Won an MVP. And was truly having people at a time thinking he was better than Michael Jordan.

      • nickjackalson - Mar 27, 2014 at 8:26 AM

        no

      • money2long - Mar 27, 2014 at 10:37 AM

        ohhhhhhhh

  7. thomaskouns - Mar 25, 2014 at 7:15 PM

    The scoring differential between Kobe & Shaq in their 3 Championships was huge. Shaq really drove that team to those Championships and he was by far the best player in the league then.

    But Kobe is right about Shaq’s work-ethic. If Shaq had half of Kobe’s worth ethic have been the best player of all time.

    • blackman24 - Mar 25, 2014 at 7:20 PM

      Wrong.

      These are their numbers during their 5 year run of 3 titles and 4 finals appearances.
      Kobe
      26.2 ppg 6 reb 5.3 ast 1.7 stls regular season,
      26.0 ppg 5.4 reb 5.1 ast 1.5 stls playoffs

      Shaq
      27 ppg 12 reb and 3 ast 2.6 blks regular season
      27 ppg 14 reb and 3 ast 2.8 blks playoffs

      That’s not a big differential. Try again dude.

      • Professor Fate - Mar 26, 2014 at 12:58 AM

        Downvoting stats? Wow.

  8. billtetley53 - Mar 25, 2014 at 7:20 PM

    I see Vanessa Monetti is vigorously defending her man again. Yeesh.

    • asimonetti88 - Mar 25, 2014 at 10:25 PM

      I find it amusing how you talk about intolerance on Jason Collins stories, then call people girls as an insult everywhere else. Interesting dynamic.

  9. aldavis4president - Mar 25, 2014 at 7:34 PM

    Shaq had cute numbers in those finals game but was always in foul trouble and in game 5 I believe, vs the pacers h fouled out to begin the 4th. Kobe overcame the deficit and won that game by himself in the 4th. He was amazing. Kobe will never get his due, because shaq is shaq. A center and a flamboyant one. Kobe and shaq were 50-50 in importance to their 3 titles. It should’ve been 6-8!!!

    • savvybynature - Mar 25, 2014 at 11:36 PM

      50-50? Did you even watch those Lakers teams?
      Just as one example, Kobe averaged a respectable 15 pts. and 4 assists in the 2000 Finals. Shaq averaged 38 points (38 points!) and 17 rebounds (17 rebounds!).
      And remember, Shaq was the one being double-teamed, not Kobe. That’s not 50-50, or even close.
      Kobe is a great player, but his Finals performances were very pedestrian and his shooting percentages just plain awful in a few Finals. Shaq was not only the best player on those teams but the team leader, even Phil Jackson has said so.

  10. chunkala - Mar 25, 2014 at 9:08 PM

    Shaq was awesome playing in WWE style NBA which didn’t have any rules.
    He’d be terrible if they called the games according to the actual rule book.

    • nickjackalson - Mar 27, 2014 at 8:34 AM

      no valid argument..

      like the players on the playground chirping for calls
      ??wtf??
      either you call a game, being the ref, or just stfu and ball

      the actual rule book is in the actual call of the actual ref

      if they called games like creationists, going by every letter of the book, no one would ever turn into a basketballgame that lasts for hours on end and turns into a FT-contest

  11. blackman24 - Mar 25, 2014 at 9:58 PM

    It seems people still think Shaq was the only reason Kobe got 3 rings, but stats shoot that notion down real quick.

    Yeah, Shaq carried most of the load during the 99-00 title run and dominated, but in 2001 and 2002 the stats are equal between the 2.

    01 Win Shares

    Kobe 3.8
    Shaq 3.7

    Win Shares per 48 min

    Kobe. 260
    Shaq. 260

    Offensive Win Shares

    Kobe 2.6
    Shaq 2.4

    Playoff scoring

    Kobe 29.4
    Shaq 30.4

    Pretty sad that 1 of the greatest to ever play the game gets knocked because he played with Shaq.

    • savvybynature - Mar 25, 2014 at 11:53 PM

      Seems like you just cherry picked one advanced metric to make your point, but if you look at traditional stats like points, rebounds and assists it is clear that Shaq had a better Finals than Kobe in all 4 appearances (including the loss to the Pistons). Shaq also had a better offensive rating AND better defensive rating than Kobe in every series, and Shaq won the Finals MVP all 3 times. In fact, Shaq’s Finals performances were legendary and some of the best in history.
      It’s not sad at all that Kobe got to play with Shaq in his prime, rather Kobe is incredibly lucky to get that opportunity. His career will be remembered more favorably for the team success he experienced in large part due to Shaq’s dominance.

    • Professor Fate - Mar 26, 2014 at 1:00 AM

      Good work, but emotion trumps facts on here.

    • unxpexted1 - Mar 26, 2014 at 8:48 AM

      I see all the normal stat guys/kobe haters have nothing to say about these numbers huh. Guess they’ll find some other irrelevant stats to make the case. I’ve always said Shaq waas more like 1.A and Kobe 1.B, then it was Shaq 1 and Kobe 2. They both needed each other badly at that time.

  12. campcouch - Mar 25, 2014 at 9:59 PM

    Shaq has a platinum album.Weird.

    • 00maltliquor - Mar 26, 2014 at 12:15 PM

      You can’t stop the reign

  13. aldog83 - Mar 26, 2014 at 12:55 AM

    SHAQ FU!!!!

    THE DIESEL!!!!

    SUPERMAN!!

    CAN YOU DIG IT!!!!

    I miss the DOMINATING PLAY OF the Big Aristotle!!!

    Kobe Amazing

    BUT SO MUCH MORE FUN WATCHING THE RAW POWER OF SHAQ.

    A man amongst boys on the court.

    As a Laker fan very grateful to have the chance to watch them together.

    A shame they lost to the “Team Basketball” of the Pistons.

    Let it GO Kobe!

    Thanks to both of you for the Memories!

    Here is to righting the current ship (eventually)

    Go Lakers!!!

  14. program33 - Mar 26, 2014 at 4:18 AM

    Just another example of why I do not like the man.

  15. billtetley53 - Mar 26, 2014 at 9:05 AM

    Monetti: I’m afraid I gave you way to much credit in the past for your intelligence.

    If you equate someone denigrating a person for a sexual preference to me calling you Vanessa for your over the top defense of Kobe, well, you’re not a smart man, Forrest.

    Calling you Vanessa is because you act like his wife in how often and how personal you take the put downs of Kobe.
    I could have just ad well called you his mom or Jellybean, but they don’t even like their son…so Vanessa it is.
    It has nothing to do with sexual preferences. That you can’t tell the difference between the two speaks volumes to how smart you really are.

    Sorry, no “interesting dynamic” here.

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