Kobe Bryant Recently Threw Major Shade at Shaq But Now Claims It Was a Joke

Two of the best NBA players, Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal, played together on the Los Angeles Lakers during the early 2000s. But when you get two powerhouses together, there’s bound to be tension. And that’s exactly what happened. A feud broke out between the players. Although they’re mostly over it now, occasionally, it rears its ugly head again. That’s exactly what happened recently when Bryant said some salty words about O’Neal, only to backtrack and claim it was a joke.

Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal fought over Lakers success 

Kobe Bryant and Shaq
Kobe Bryant and Shaq | AFP/AFP/Getty Images

Bryant and O’Neal both wanted the Lakers to succeed, but they had different ideas about how to do that. When Bryant first joined the team, his confidence was interpreted as arrogance by O’Neal, and their big personalities often clashed. After playing together for eight years, from 1996 to 2004, the arguments had reached feud level. 

O’Neal has since admitted that he may have kept the feud up just for attention. During a sit-down conversation between the two players, O’Neal said, “…a lot of times that our beef was going on, you know me, I’m the master of marketing. About 60 percent of the time, I was just saying to keep it going.”

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Dam I was so lazy.

A post shared by DR. SHAQUILLE O'NEAL Ed.D. (@shaq) on

That 2018 conversation was actually a turning point in their relationship. They were able to patch up their old grievances and call an end to the feud.

“I was an a** to this guy,” O’Neal told Bryant. “I’m going to give you an apology, but we’re not going to be doing all that crying like Magic and Isiah,” O’Neal said, referencing the similar feud between Magic Johnson and Isiah Thomas. 

Kobe Bryant’s joke caused a social media war

The old feud was reignited recently when Bryant told Patrick Bet-David at the PHP Agency Convention in Las Vegas that he would have more championship rings if O’Neal wasn’t so lazy. 

“I wish he was in the gym!” Bryant said. “I would’ve had 12 f**king rings!”

O’Neal then responded on social media, which caused a flare-up between the groups of fans.

“U woulda had twelve if you passed the ball more especially in the finals against the pistons #Facts… You don’t get statues by not working hard,” O’Neal wrote. 

Fans from both sides rushed in to defend their favorite player. And some sat back with popcorn to watch the war unfold. But although it brought lots of attention from both social media users and the media, Bryant now claims his comments were made tongue-in-cheek, and not to be taken seriously. 

Kobe Bryant cleared the air on ‘Jimmy Kimmel Live’

After the firestorm, Bryant stopped by Jimmy Kimmel Live to clarify his comments. Kimmel asked him if he thought O’Neal took offense at what he said.

“I think he did,” Bryant said. “But here’s the thing: it was really a compliment. People missed the first whole half of that in which I said he was the most dominant player I’ve ever seen and I felt like he could’ve been the greatest of all time. So people kind of missed that part of it. They kind of caught on to the ‘lazy’ part. But I said that kind of like tongue-in-cheek.”

After the interview, Bryant got on Twitter to make his message even clearer. He insisted there was no feud between him and his old teammate

“There is no beef with @SHAQ I know most media want to see it but it ain’t gonna happen,” Kobe tweeted. “Ain’t nothin but love there and we too old to beef anyway #3peat.”

While Bryant claims it was all a big joke and there are no hard feelings, but how would O’Neal feel? He responded to Bryant’s tweet in a positive manner and even brought another teammate into the mix, Dwight Howard

“It’s all good bro,” O’Neal wrote. “When I saw the interview, I thought you were talking about Dwite, is that how u spell his name lol.”

Although it seemed like the old feud was back on, in the end, it may have just been old players joking around with each other.