Shaquille O’Neal once tried to pay Lakers teammate to fight Kobe Bryant
Isaiah “J.R.” Rider stopped by Stephen Jackson and Matt Barnes’ All The Smoke podcast on Saturday and offered some amusing insights into just how heated the relationship between Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant was — at least when Rider joined the Los Angeles Lakers.
Rider revealed Shaq didn’t waste any time making his teammate an offer to start a fight with Bryant.
“If you and Kobe get into it, it’s 10Gs in the locker…it’s 10Gs in the locker…” Rider said about the offer Shaq made.
Isaiah Rider said Shaq offered him $10,000 (in 1 dollar bills) to "get into it" with Kobe in practice.
— Ballislife.com (@Ballislife) April 9, 2020
Rider, who played 67 games with the Lakers in 2000-01, clarified that Shaq’s offer came immediately after Rider’s Lakers tenure began.
“This is three days into practice, he’s like, ‘there’s 10Gs in one dollar bills if you ever get into it.’…”I’m like, ‘man these boys is crazy, bro,'” Rider furthered.
Rider seemingly never took Shaq’s offer though, noting that the decision to start a fight with Kobe may not have been the smartest way to endear himself to Phil Jackson and the Lakers organization — who provided his best shot at a championship ring.
“I would’ve been off that team so fast if I laid a hand on that man,” Rider reasoned.
Despite the well-known beef between the two superstars, the ’01 Lakers — after an underwhelming 56-win regular season — produced one of the greatest postseason runs in history, embarking on a 15-1 roll that ended with their second straight title. Rider, who averaged 7.6 points per game primarily off the bench in his one L.A. season, earned a ring despite being left off the playoff roster.