“It was inevitable. You can’t expect Michael [Jordan] to play with Wilt [Chamberlain] for his entire career. That’s just not going to work. I had too much talent and too much to showcase. And then there was a challenge issued by him about me not being able to win without him. That’s a challenge I couldn’t pass. But ultimately during those years I sacrificed a lot, numbers-wise, to play with him. The thing that always bothered me was people said, ‘Well, Kobe’s selfish.’ I’m not selfish. If I was selfish, I would have left. I gave up a lot to play with him. I would have went some place else and won more championships. That’s how driven I was. I was just that obsessed about winning without him. Everything was about that. I was obsessive about it and there was nothing that was going to get in my way. Personalities and playing for each other weren’t the best of dynamics because he always wanted to do things a certain way and I was always on him about his work ethic. He didn’t want to hear that, but I didn’t care. It was tough for that relationship to work forever. But there was a mutual respect, and that’s why you see us engaging with each other and conversing with each other because we knew what that was about. The thing that I respected about him was when he stepped on the court he was ferocious. That’s the thing we both had in common. Between those lines nothing could stop us.” — Kobe Bryant reflecting on how his relationship with Shaq has evolved with time
Shaquille O’Neal’s #34 jersey will be retired by the Lakers before tomorrow nights game against the Dallas Mavericks.