The death of Kobe Byrant still continues to affect those who knew who competed against him and those who played with him, especially his most famous teammate, Shaquille O’Neal.
In their eight years together, from 1996 to 2004, the duo won three consecutive NBA championships and made four NBA finals appearances. They were, without a doubt, one of the greatest duos in the history of sports, let alone the NBA.
They also had one of the most infamous feuds in the history of professional sports, which led to the duo eventually breaking up in 2004. But, despite the feuding, and disagreements, the two are forever connected because of their success off the court and controversy off of it.
So as you would imagine, the death of Kobe affected Shaq very much.
In an interview with People, Shaq was very open and candid in about his relationship with the NBA legend and even left Shaq with some regret on how he handled Kobe’s death.
“You put off [getting in touch]. I’ll never get to see Kobe again, in real life, forever. And I just should have called. He should have called. We both should have called. But he’s working, I’m working, so it’s ‘I’ll see you when I see you,” Shaq said, according to People.
This interview comes just ahead of O’Neal’s HBO Max docuseries SHAQ, which chronicles the life on and off the court of the legendary NBA Center. It’s set to premiere on Nov. 23.
While the relationship between Shaq and Kobe was complicated, the two eventually mended their relationship publicly in a 2018 one-on-one where they both sat down and talked about their careers together and the scuffles they had against each other over the years.
During Kobe’s memorial at Staples Center, Shaq said, “As many of you know, Kobe and I had a very complex relationship through the years. But not unlike another leadership duo, John Lennon and Paul McCartney, whose creative rivalry led to some of the greatest music of all time.”