Shaq Forgives Kobe Bryant for Ratting on Him

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In an interview with The Daily Beast, The Big Aristotle discussed his halcyon days with the Orlando Magic, Kobe’s retirement, and why Steel would’ve been a* huge* reached today.


There is a scene in This Magic Moment , the ESPN 30 for 30 documentary on the early 90 s Orlando Magic, that is sure to make waves. The teams titan of a starring, Shaquille ONeal, is reflecting on what could have been with the squad he led past Jordan to the 1995 NBA Finals, as well as the one-two punch of himself and swing guard Penny Hardaway.

Penny Hardaway was the man , utters Shaq in the doc, his gloomy demeanor oozing regret. He subsequently pauses, and adds, My first four years[ in the NBA] are likely to be the best four years of my life.

We were the Shaq and Kobe before Shaq and Kobe, Shaq tells The Daily Beast of him and Penny. We were the first team to have two guys with signature shoes. And we never had problems. I dont know about Magic and Kareems relationship or any other small-big guys relationship, but we never had problems. The only day we had problems was when I had to tell Penny he could be too unselfish at times and he had to shoot.

But does Shaq regret leaving the Orlando Magic, the team( and city) he helped construct, for The Lake Show? After all, toward the end of the doc, teammate Horace Grant claims that had the Magic stayed intact, theyd have won at least three to four championships.

Regret is the wrong word, replies Shaq, shaking his head. Ive always had people around me and been a good enough thinker to think about my situation. When I went to L.A ., I knew I had to go to another level. I could go in Orlando, make it to the Finals, and people would say, Hey, good job. But when I went to L.A ., it was, hey, Magics won five, Kareems won five, what are you gonna do? And then there were all the opportunities for me to shake hands with people and do certain things in[ the entertainment industry ]. I have no sadness. I went out there, won 3 out of 4, and then left and got another title. Im happy.

As far as the comparison between Penny-as-teammate and Kobe, well, it was a different day. Penny was on the end of the epoch when guards knew that you had to get it to the big human first, he says with a smile. Penny knew that. Now, because of AND1 and all that bullshit, everybodys going for their own. But in order to win, especially when you got a big guy like me, you gotta get it to em and keep his motor running. Im famous for saying, If you dont feed the big puppy, the yard wont get guarded. So, if you dont feed me, Ill let everybody come in this motherfucker and rob us.

This Magic Moment , which attained its premiere Thursday evening at the 2016 Tribeca Film Festivaland aired on ESPN the same nightcomes along at a fascinating day. Shaqs longtime Lakers first lieutenant, Kobe Bryant, simply played his final basketball game, going out in storybook style with 60 phases. And amid luminaries like Jay Z, Kanye West, and Jack Nicholson , none other than Shaquille Rashaun ONeal , now 44, was there courtside in L.A. to give Kobe a Diesel bear hug as he strolled off the court.

But things werent always so peachy between Shaq and Kobe. Their on- and off-court struggles are the stuff of NBA lore. Things hit a low point in 2003, when Kobe decided to break locker room code and rat on his teammate, for no apparent reason, while being questioned by police in his rape example.

According to Kobes police file, while he was being questioned by policemen about the alleged sexual assault, Kobe said, I should have done what Shaq does, adding, Shaq gives[ mistresses] fund or buys them vehicles, he has already spent one million dollars. The report added, Kobe stated that Shaq does this to keep the girls quiet.

Years subsequently, in 2008, Shaq freestyle-rapped about the incident at a club in New York. Im a horse/ Kobe ratted me out, thats why Im gettin divorced/ He said Shaq devoted a bitch a mil/ I dont do that, because my names Shaquille, objective the rhyme by recurring the refrain, Kobe, how my ass savour?

I ask Shaq how he genuinely felt about get ratted out by Kobe, and if they ever actually interred the hatchet. After all, less than a year after Kobes betrayal, Shaq had orchestrated a trade to the Miami Heat, where he won a championship opposite Dwyane Wade.

There never was a hatchet. Im not worried about that, answers Shaq. Thats something that happened and I didnt think it wouldve gone on, but there was never a hatchet. As a leader, sometimes you gotta do certain things, like, if I owned The Daily Beast and you came back with a bad article and I know your potential, Id be like, Thats some bullshit, and youd either punk up and cease, or say, Oh, its bullshit? and write a better piece. It was my job to get everyone to play at a high level. People want things to go perfectly, and if you really look at it, three out of four championships is pretty perfect. Im glad and honored to be the most enigmatic, controversial, and dynamic one-two punch in Lakers and NBA history.

He pauses again to ponder the issues to. There never was a hatchet, he adds of Kobe. It was two guys vying. But one thing you can say about Shaquille ONeal is he always played the right way. Thats all I wanted to ever do, is play the right way. So I never took anything personally.

In addition to Kobes retirement, the other big narrative around the league is that the Golden State Warriors, at 73 -9, merely eclipsed the Jordan-led Chicago Bulls for the best regular season record in NBA history. And theyre led by Steph Curry, perhaps the most dynamic shooter in NBA history.

And, while Shaq admits it definitely wouldve been crazy if hed had the chance to play with Stephspreading defenses about as wide as they could possibly goI ask Shaq if, given the opportunity to play GM early on in his career, would he draft a young Kobe or a young Steph as his teammate.

Shaq, ever the diplomatand despite their well-documented problemschose Kobe. Well, they both came in as similar players. Kobe was a high schooler with a lot of possibilities, and with Steph Curry, his dad went to his college and said, Take my son, and they said no. Id likely take Kobe because hes a bigger guard, but theres no way to tell what these guys become, he says.

In addition to his on-court career, This Magic Moment also briefly touches on the early days of Shaq Inc ., when the towering, eminently likable basketball star had endorsements up the wazoo, including a hilarious Sega Genesis video game which this writer are applied to own, Shaq Fu, as well as his oft-derided 1997 superhero movie Steel , featuring Shaq as DC Comic hero Steel/ John Henry Irons. The movie was panned by critics and earned only $1.7 million against a $16 million budget.

According to Shaq, the timing was everything. With my superhero movie and my video game, it was the same thing: we had the old special effects, he says. Lets set it this route: if you had Steel come out now with the Iron Man special effects, it wouldve been a big, big hit.

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