NBA Hall of Famer Shaquille O’Neal was honored by the Jefferson Awards Foundation on Monday night in New York City for his humanitarian efforts, specifically his work with children. Shaq is a national spokesman for the Boys & Girls Clubs of America and has donated millions of dollars and resources to help improve the lives of children across the country.
Prior to receiving his award, Shaq spent some time speaking with a small group of reporters (myself included) about a myriad of topics, including the importance of giving back, the current state of the NBA, and what he thought about ex-Lakers teammate Kobe Bryant winning an OSCAR.
As everyone knows, Shaq and Kobe were among the most dominant 1-2 combinations in NBA history. They won back-to-back-to-back NBA titles for the Lakers in the early 2000s and were on the verge of even more history before ego, jealousy, and management broke up their dynamic work partnership. When they went their separate ways (Shaq to Miami, Kobe remaining in Los Angeles), they became locked in a battle to see how they Would do without each other. Shaq made the loudest statement first, helping the Miami Heat win their first title in 2006. Kobe would eventually draw even, winning in 2009 and then pulling ahead by winning again in 2010.
Since then both men have retired and they publicly put aside any beef or differences they may have had in the past. The two appeared on NBA TV in January for a 1on1 conversation and they discussed the past and what was essentially, at least according to Shaq, largely a media narrative of the two men not liking each other. Whether that’s true or not, only they know. However, what can’t be denied is they are both ultra-competitive guys and when they ceased being teammates, they certainly wanted to outdo each other.
During Shaq’s media availability at the Jefferson Awards gala, he was asked his thoughts on Kobe winning an OSCAR, just a week earlier. Shaq tongue in cheek responded, “I was pissed!” He goes on to credit Kobe for doing something a lot of people have been unable to do. But says, he doesn’t “compete against earthlings,” and won’t be making a documentary anytime soon.
Flip the page to watch Shaq talk about Kobe winning an Oscar.