Sports Now

Sports news from Los Angeles and beyond

« Previous Post | Sports Now Home | Next Post »

Lakers Moments: Bryant and O'Neal win some and lose some

Lakers Two are better than one: Lakers players Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O'Neal during a game against the Pacers at Staples Center on March 1, 2002.

When Bryant and O’Neal joined the Lakers, the two quickly morphed into one of the most lethal scoring and defensive combinations in the league. Together, with Coach Phil Jackson guiding them, they led the Lakers to three consecutive championships (2000-2002) as Bryant began to cement his place as the game’s top player.

Despite their coming together to win some of the most closely fought playoff series in Lakers history, friction started to develop between Bryant and O’Neal. Tension between the two stars continued to build during the 2002-03 and 2003-04 seasons as the Lakers failed to capitalize on their status as top contenders for the NBA title.

After the Lakers lost to Detroit in the NBA Finals despite a star-studded roster that included Karl Malone and Gary Payton, O’Neal was traded to Miami and Jackson’s coaching contract was not renewed. As the team’s undisputed leader, Bryant signed a seven-year contract to remain with the team.

Bryant summed up the tensions between him and O’Neal after the Lakers won the NBA title in 2009: "We're great as individuals, but ... it's probably the first dynamic duo that had two alpha males on one team. We managed to make it work for three championships."

Read more about Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O'Neal in All Things Lakers, the L.A. Times interactive database of all things purple and gold.

Join the Lakers at L.A. Times Facebook page.

-- Austin Knoblauch and Sarah Ardalani

Photo credit:  Los Angeles Times

 
Comments  ()

Connect

Recommended on Facebook


Advertisement

In Case You Missed It...

Video


About the Reporters
Sports Now is written by the entire Sports department of the L.A. Times.



Tweets and retweets from L.A. Times staff writers.

Categories


Archives
 


Bleacher Report | Los Angeles

Reader contributions from Times partner Bleacher Report

More on Bleacher Report »




Get Alerts on Your Mobile Phone

Sign me up for the following lists: