“7 Out Of 8; That’s The Only Regret I Have”: Shaquille O’Neal Confided In Deion Sanders 6 Years Ago On His Fractured Relationship With Kobe Bryant

Mary Raleigh
06/10/2023

Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant dominated the league during their stint as teammates. Regarded as one of the deadliest one-two punches in NBA history, Shaq believes that the Los Angeles Lakers duo could’ve won as many as 7 titles. 6 years ago, in 2017, O’Neal made an appearance on NFL Network’s “21st and Prime” and discussed a bunch of things with Deion Sanders. Among the many topics, the TNT analyst spoke about the only regret of his illustrious career.

Shaquille O’Neal has had a pretty distinguished 19-year career. The 7-footer represented a total of six franchises and built up quite a stacked trophy cabinet. Among other laurels, the Big Aristotle won two scoring titles, an MVP, four titles, and three Finals MVPs. However, Shaq did reveal that he regretted not maintaining a civil relationship with Kobe Bryant. According to O’Neal, the duo could’ve been teammates for the remainder of their careers while winning a grand total of seven Championships.

Shaquille O’Neal regrets not easing up on the brakes with Kobe Bryant

During the appearance on NFL Network’s “21st and Prime”, Deion Sanders asked O’Neal if he had any regrets or could do over any certain aspect of his nearly two-decade-long career. For the most part, the Hall-Of-Famer was pretty happy with how his career panned out. However, there was one particular moment that he wished he would’ve changed.

Despite being one of the greatest pairings in NBA history, Shaq and Kobe were never on the same page. Their differences eventually resulted in a nasty split, with O’Neal being traded away to the Miami Heat.

If Shaq could do things differently, he would work on having a better chemistry with Kobe. Had the two resolved all of their differences, Shaq believes that the duo could’ve retired together. Further, their tenure as teammates could even witness the franchise winning as many as seven championships.

Sander: “Is there any do-overs when you look back on your illustrious career?”

Shaq: “There’s only one moment… If I would’ve eased up on the brakes with Kobe Bryant, we probably could’ve finished our career together. But you know how it is, when you’re young and all the pressure is on you and my mentality is gonna be ‘my way, my way, my way, my way,’ sometimes you bump heads with the ones that you’re not supposed to bump head with.

Lucky thing about our relationship is we won three out of four and that’s good. But, I think we could’ve… win five out of six, six out of seven, seven out of eight. That’s the only regret I have.”

Both Kobe and Shaq were still dominating the league after the split in 2004. A few more title wins would’ve certainly been a huge possibility.

Kobe believes that Shaq could’ve been the GOAT with his work ethic

Taking immense pride in their work, both players thought highly of themselves. Having big egos, Bryant and O’Neal wanted to be the go-to guy for the Purple & Gold. However, the two superstars behaving like ‘alpha males’ would often get into heated arguments. Towards the end of Shaq’s stint with the Lakers, slurring profanities and indulging in fistfights also became a pretty common occurrence.

Now, Shaq was infamously known for being lazy. Unlike other stars, the former LSU Tiger didn’t find the need to work hard. According to Kobe Bryant, the Diesel could’ve been the GOAT if he had been equipped with the Black Mamba’s work ethic.

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