Phil Jackson Says Kobe Couldn’t Handle Shaq’s Clownish Ways

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This isn’t new information, but always makes you think what if Shaq and Kobe could have found some sort of middle ground.

Phil Jackson was on a panel at the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference and had this to say about Shaq’s work ethic and how it broke up the Lakers courtesy of USA Today.

“Shaq didn’t work at it,” Jackson said. “Michael was able to succeed despite all kinds of limitations in his game. He couldn’t hit an outside shot. He couldn’t defend. But all of that went away because of his work ethic. Kobe saw that as a pinnacle that he had to reach, and he took it to a whole new level.”

After winning three straight titles with the Los Angeles Lakers from 2000 to 2002, O’Neal and Bryant had a famous falling out, and Jackson pointed to their personalities as a cause.

“Shaq had a clown role he had to play,” he said. “So that was part of the rift.”

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