Kobe Bryant plans on thanking Shaquille O'Neal for their Lakers' success at statue unveiling
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Kobe Bryant plans on thanking Shaquille O’Neal for their Lakers’ success at statue unveiling

At times throughout their stellar careers, Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant, to put it nicely, were not the best of friends. But any drama that previously existed between the two is now in the past and Bryant will be in attendance on Friday when the Lakers unveil a statue of O’Neal outside of Staples Center.

In fact, Bryant is really looking forward to the event and will be giving a speech where he plans on thanking O’Neal for helping him win three NBA championships.

From Tania Ganguli of the Los Angeles Times:

“When you win three titles together and you’ve had so much impact on one another’s legacy as a player and as a champion,” Bryant said by phone this week, “there is absolutely no way in the world I would miss an opportunity to talk about him and thank him and to acknowledge everything that he’s done for not only this organization and the city, but for me personally.”

“I’ve learned so much from him,” Bryant said. “He’s extremely, extremely good at bringing others on the team and pushing them. Striking the balance between hard leadership and a pat on the back. Those are things I learned from him. … That was a big, big shift for me.”

Considering how they had a contentious relationship at times, it will be interesting to hear what Bryant actually says about O’Neal during his speech. The two are now much more amicable and as Bryant says, he plans on praising O’Neal.

But overall, Bryant’s praise is what will be so fascinating to see. It will likely cause emotions to be at a high level and may even bring out a side of both players that we so rarely see. One that after all these years, solidifies the fact that both O’Neal and Bryant loved playing and winning together.

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