Lakers legend Shaquille O’Neal reveals ‘defining moment of dominant run’ with Kobe Bryant
Much has been said about the Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant feud that ultimately led to O’Neal parting ways with the Los Angeles Lakers in 2004. However, what is an undeniable fact is how this duo dominated the league during their time together as teammates.
O’Neal recently opened up about what he feels is the defining moment of the Lakers’ dynasty in the early 2000s. It comes to no surprise that it was that historic alley-oop that Kobe threw to Shaq in the 2000 Western Conference Finals.
Speaking to Bleacher Report, Shaq first set the premise. The Portland Trail Blazers were on the brink of coming from 3-1 down in the series in Game 7 of the WCF, and the Lakers had their backs against the wall:
“We were up 3-1. We got cute alotta times We let our guards down,” O’Neal narrated. “They were the toughest team and they were the only team that wasn’t scared of us. So, for me, I was kinda nervous, but I knew that I had to come out and play well, which didn’t happen. I didn’t have one of those Shaq-like games at all.
“I was scared, scared that if we didn’t get it done, it’ll be over. Kobe vs. Shaq feud thing gonna come up. I just let everybody down.”
O’Neal was very honest here. He admitted that at that point in time, he was very unsure of what the future would hold for him if the Lakers lost that game. Fortunately for him, things took a turn for the better:
“Then in the fourth quarter,” he said, “I got rollin’ a little bit. I hit one off the glass. But I kept telling Kob, ‘Hey, I’m wide open at the rim.’ And he said, ‘I gotcha. I gotcha.’
“The last play I wasn’t even looking at the ball cuz I was like, ‘OK, Kobe gonna shoot in the fourth quarter. Get it to Kobe and just get out of the way. So he got it, and he crossed Scottie Pippen up. When he threw it up I said, ‘Oh, shit, this ain’t a shot.’ So I had to get up … I just threw it through real quick. That was the defining moment of our dominant run.”
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) June 4, 2020
It’s hard not to agree with O’Neal here, and anyone would be hard-pressed to find a moment that is more iconic during that memorable Kobe-Shaq era with the Lakers than that amazing alley-oop play.