Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant may not have been the most successful NBA duo of all-time, but they might be the most famous.
Bryant, the mercurial shooting guard who jumped straight to the NBA from Ardmore, Pennsylvania, a suburb of Philadelphia, and O’Neal, whose alma mater was Louisiana State University, formed one of the best one-two punches in the history of basketball between Bryant’s athleticism and scoring ability and O’Neal’s ability to command double teams and force defenses to adjust to his efficient and powerful play in the paint.
On February 20, 2020, O’Neal recalled a time when he attempted to make Bryant more of a team player.
Bryant and O’Neal had been quietly competing for the limelight while simultaneously leading the Lakers to win after win after win.
O’Neal thought the team needed to run the offense through him, while Bryant often thought the same.
O’Neal walked up to the podium to tell the story of when he attempted to use a famous phrase that has been shared by coaches and players alike for generations: “There’s No ‘I’ in Team.’
Bryant, ever the innovator, responded back with something completely unexpected, as O’Neal details in the video below.
Related Reading: Shaquille O’Neal Names the One Player Who Would Have Been as Good as Kobe Bryant If Not For Injuries
What many people don’t know about O’Neal during this particular time period is that he also lost his sister, Ayesha Harrison-Jex, to cancer at age 40, just three months before Bryant passed away, as O’Neal shares in the video below with Ernie Johnson during Bryant’s memorial service at the Staples Center.
A tribute to Ayesha is also shown below, from the NBA on TNT show.
Shaq's sister, Ayesha Harrison-Jex, died of cancer at 40 years old this morning.
The Inside crew send their condolences 🙏
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) October 24, 2019