Los Angeles Lakers great Shaquille O’Neal already has his own statue outside Staples Center. Soon, his former partner, the late Kobe Bryant will also have his outside the famous home of the Purple and Gold. There are many great Kobe moments to choose from as inspiration. But Shaq already has his pick.
In the Text Message Talk Show with Dorrell Wright on the Players’ Tribune, Shaq believes that Kobe’s game-winning pull-up jumper against the Phoenix Suns in the first round of the 2006 NBA Playoffs should be the image immortalized through the statue. Wright, who played with Shaq with the Miami Heat, completely agreed with the pick.
Whether you’re a Lakers fan or not, you’ve seen Kobe’s game-winner in highlight reels numerous times. It is, without a doubt, one of the greatest buzzer-beaters in NBA history. What made it even more special was that it happened right in front of the Lakers faithful.
Kobe carried that undermanned Lakers squad that season, with guys like Lamar Odom, Smush Parker, Chris Mihm, Kwame Brown, and Brian Cook as his supporters. Still, they got the seventh seed in the NBA Playoffs and took the second seed Suns to a full seven-game series. Kobe and company even went up 3-1 before blowing their lead.
It took two more seasons before Kobe guided his team back to the NBA Finals against the Boston Celtics. They lost that series in six games. But Kobe finally returned to the throne in the next two seasons, getting back-to-back titles to bring his ring tally to five and further cement his legacy with the Lakers.
The Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant duo will forever be one of the greatest tandems in NBA history and it would be great to see them sharing an honor once again.