*Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant may not have been BFF’s winning championships for the Los Angeles Lakers, but that didn’t stop the big guy from choosing his former teammate over the other iconic NBA all-star he played with.
During an appearance on “The Dan Patrick Show” Monday (June 1), Patrick referenced Bill Laimbeer, who recently admitted that he would take LeBron James over Michael Jordan. From there, Patrick asked O’Neal, who was on the show to promote his new podcast, whom he would choose: Bryant or James, who he played alongside when he was with the Cleveland Cavaliers.
O’Neal, who didn’t share Laimbeer’s view, chose Jordan and answered Patrick’s inquiring by going with Bryant. While choosing Bryant over James wasn’t a “knock against LeBron,” the selection simply came down to “killer instinct.
“Kobe has that killer instinct and I would probably have to go with Kobe,” O’Neal told Patrick. “That’s not a knock against LeBron. But I know Kobe and played with him longer and seen what he can do. Yes he does have (that killer instinct). A lot of people try to compare [LeBron] to Michael (Jordan) when he’s more like Magic (Johnson). When he needs to take over a game, he will. He’s really really smart. He’s very intelligent and lets the game to come him and he relies on others.”
Considering the beef O’Neal had with Bryant over the years, the former athlete’s admission most likely comes as a surprise to sports fans.
As the interview progressed, Patrick brought up allegations that surfaced last week about O’Neal threatening to murder Bryant. According to Yardbarker, O’Neal downplayed the accusations, saying the issues he and Bryant have weren’t that bad. In fact, O’Neal goes on to mention that it was his plan to retire as a Laker. However, that went out the window when the team chose Bryant over him and traded him to the Miami Heat, where he won another NBA title.
And if you’re still wondering if there’s any beef with James, rest easy. O’Neal stated that he thought King James has exceeded expectations since arriving in the NBA, while noting that the popular player has “never been into trouble. Always been a great player. Always made guys around him better.”