Beef is when I see you..
By now it is common knowledge that Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal do not get along. From the pot shots in the media, scuffles during Lakers practice, and Bryant namedropping Shaq when being questioned by police after being arrested for sexual assault, its been all bad. Aside from the three championships of course. The Shaq vs. Kobe feud is one of great sports lore.
Heading into the 2003 season, the Lakers signed aging veterans Gary Payton and Karl Malone (he had his run in with the Kobster as well), in hopes attaining a fourth straight NBA Championship. Another major headline throughout the season was Bryant’s ongoing rape trial in Eagle County, CO. Though they reached the finals that year, the lights in tinseltown were a bit too much as they fell to the Detroit Pistons. This of course was one of the most headline heavy NBA seasons, with the feud between the franchises biggest stars no longer being a team secret. The good folks over at Bleacher Report recently released an Oral History of the LA Lakers 2003-2004 season, and one of the interesting tidbits taken from the piece was an instance where the big shaqtus threatened to kill Bryant.
According to Lakers Vice President of Public Relations, John Black, the tension between the two was so intense, he was surprised that they stayed together as long as they did. He even spoke on a time when Shaq threatened to kill Bryant in the midst of an argument.
“Mostly it was Shaq and Kobe didn’t like each other,” he told BR, “but it didn’t affect them on the court. They would say something about the other, on or off the record, but it didn’t become confrontational more than two or three times over the eight years. When Kobe gave the statement to Jim Gray where he went off calling Shaq fat and lazy, that was one of the times. There was a really bad one, early on. Brian Shaw had to pull them apart. Shaq threatened to murder Kobe.”
Some like their beef well done – @Rocko_CNK