Kobe Bryant insists shots at Shaq were ‘tongue-in-cheek’
A feud seemingly broke out between Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal a short time back, and while the former teammates have since patched things up, the Black Mamba was compelled to reiterate that there’s no bad blood between the two.
The entire saga began when Bryant called out his former Los Angeles Lakers cohort, calling him “lazy” during his playing days. Further, he contended during the same interview that the Lakers would have won 12 titles had O’Neal been in better shape and spent more time “in the gym.”
Bryant was making an appearance on “Jimmy Kimmel Live” on Tuesday night, during which the smack-talk exchanges that occurred between he and Shaq unsurprisingly were brought up by the host.
“Here’s the thing, it was really a compliment,” Bryant said, via TMZ. “People missed the whole first half of that in which I said he was the most dominant player I’ve ever seen and I felt like he could’ve been the greatest of all time.”
“So, people kind of missed that part of it — they caught onto the lazy part. But, that was like, I kinda said that tongue-in-cheek! We weren’t going to win 12 rings!”
As noted, the recent antagonistic exchange between O’Neal and Bryant — who famously feuded during their tenure together — appeared to spiral out of control, with Shaq firing back on Instagram over the slight.
Bryant later took to Twitter to declare he has “no beef” with Shaq. O’Neal subsequently quelled any notion of an ongoing feud with Bryant by interestingly taking a shot at new Laker Dwight Howard at the same time.
Bryant also added on Kimmel’s show that he personally reached out to O’Neal once the “lazy” story blew up, texting him to say, “No hard feelings, I still got love for you!”
In the end, it appears Kobe and Shaq remain on good terms despite some residual bad blood from time to time stemming from their oft-contentious relationship during their playing days. Odds are both Bryant and O’Neal wish things hadn’t spiraled out of control so quickly in this latest and very public dustup.