Shaquille O’Neal Emotionally Reflects On Playing With Kobe Bryant

Shaquille O’Neal reminisced on his days playing with Kobe Bryant during Game 2 of the 2023 NBA Finals.

The four-time NBA champion was asked about the 23rd anniversary of Bryant’s perfect ally-oop to O’Neal during the 2000 Western Conference Finals. “Shaq Diesel” and the crew watched footage of the iconic play before sharing thoughts on the Los Angeles Lakers’ comeback win over the Portland Trailblazers that year.

However, as the Lakers ex-big man began to share his introspections, he began to get emotional talking about his “young fella.”

“No it didn’t,” Shaq replied when asked if that play felt like it happened 23 years ago. “I’m happy that happened, but every time I see my young fella, he’s not with us anymore, it kinda makes me sad… Of course, it was a happy moment, but if I could trade that moment and have him sitting here with us… that would be better for me.”

The former NBA player’s pain echoed his previous sentiments regarding Bryant’s passing.

Shortly after the Black Mamba passed away, Shaq reflected on his “little brother” during an episode of Inside the NBA. “I haven’t felt a pain that sharp in a while,” he admitted. “I’m 47 years old, lost two grandmothers, [my father], lost my sister, and now I lost a little brother.

“In life, sometimes instead of holding back certain things, we should just do. We up here, we work a lot, and I think a lot of times we take stuff for granted. I don’t talk to you guys as much as I need to… It definitely changes me because I work a lot. I work more than the average guy, but I have to take time and call and say ‘I love you.’ Rick Fox called and said ‘Man, I love you.’ [Brian] Shaw called me, so I’m going to try and do a better job of reaching out and talking to people instead of procrastinating because you never know. Life is too short. I could never imagine anything like this. I’ve never seen anything like this.”

NBA legend Kobe Bryant and his daughter, Gianna Maria-Onore, perished in a helicopter crash on Jan. 26, 2020. Bryant, who was 41, is survived by his wife, Vanessa Bryant, and three children: Natalia Diamante, Bianka Bella, and Capri Kobe, born in 2019.

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