It’s been well-documented over the years that the “divorce” of Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal after clashing as teammates on the Los Angeles Lakers. As the years progressed, the two had squashed the beef and had mutual respect for one another after their respective careers came to an end.
During a special hour-long edition of Inside the NBA (for the record, go out of your way to check out the entire thing), O’Neal along with the rest of the crew and special guest Dwyane Wade talked about the legacy of the late Kobe Bryant. During a segment, the former LSU Tiger talked about his “little brother” and the flurry of emotions that he went through on that Sunday afternoon.
“The other day I’m downstairs working out with my son Shaqir and my nephew Columbus. Then my other nephew comes in, crying, and he shows me his phone.” O’Neal said, ‘And I snapped at him, I said ‘man get that out of my face. Get that away from me.’ We live in a world where anything can be photoshopped, anything can be hoaxed. I didn’t want to believe it.”
What was even more devastating for Shaq, who recently lost his sister, was finding out that Bryant’s 13-year-old daughter Gianna was in that helicopter.
“Every time I saw his lovely wife and his kids, same thing I do with Kenny’s kids and D-Wade’s kids, ‘hi, my name is uncle Shaq.’ I don’t know if they know me as a basketball player, it doesn’t matter, ‘hi I’m uncle Shaq,’ I try to make them laugh. He would do the same thing. Shareef called me, devastated, and said ‘Kobe just texted me’ to check to see how he was doing. He used to do that from time to time.”
Below is a snippet of O’Neal’s thoughts on the passing of Kobe. Your heart has to hurt for the big man who always seems to have a smile on his face no matter what.