Shaquille O'Neal Says He Argued Every Day With Kobe Bryant When He Became The 'Black Mamba'

Shaquille O'Neal Says He Argued Every Day With Kobe Bryant When He Became The 'Black Mamba'

In a recent episode of 'The BIG Podcast,' Shaquille O'Neal outlined some of the key differences between his two former teammates, Penny Hardaway and Kobe Bryant. In the case of Kobe, Shaq said that they argued every day at one point when he ascended into full superstardom.

"Penny came in Penny.... We never had a fight, we never had an argument. The other guy [Kobe]? Everyday. Once he became that black Mamba, every day."

Kobe Bryant came into the NBA fresh out of High School, and he was still just a teenager for his first few years in the league. It wasn't until the 1999-2000 season (his fourth in the league) that he cracked 22 points per game in a season and it started a start a streak that lasted 14 years.

The highlight of Kobe's time with Shaq was their legendary three-peat championship run, which lasted from 2000-2002. The duo was unstoppable in their prime and arguably stands as the greatest of all time. Sadly, their run would be cut short after Kobe grew older and began to clash heads with the superstar big man.

Eventually, the Lakers were forced to choose between one or the other which led to the trade of Shaquille O'Neal to the Heat in 2004. It was a sour breakup that never got resolved before their retirement. With Hardaway, they might have done even better things together had the Magic just been willing to pay to keep them together.

Shaq Says Penny Hardaway Was Kobe Before Kobe

Hardaway, out of Memphis, is a 14-year NBA veteran and a former All-Star for the Magic. In his early days, alongside a young Shaquille O'Neal, he thrived in the backcourt with averages of 19.7 points, 6.7 assists, and 1.9 steals per game on 48% shooting through his first four years.

Shaq said that what made Penny stand out, besides being the "Kobe before Kobe" was that he was ready to go from day one. Kobe, meanwhile,

"I always wanna give you your love. I'm always going to give you your props. I'm always going to remind these little f***ing kids what greatness is all about," said O'Neal. "Penny was Kobe was before Kobe, And the kids before the social media era they act like they don't understand what I'm telling them. Do you have Google, stupid? Look and see who Penny was. Penny came in on day one like this. Kobe, first year: didn't start. Second year: didn't start. Third year, upstairs saying hey it's time for me to play. But it took him 600 to 900 days to become the Black Mamba."

Penny was several years older than Bryant when he was first united with Shaq so it makes sense that he was ready to contribute at a much faster pace. He was able to keep up with O'Neal and help lead the Magic on a run to the Finals in 1995.

The Magic duo was relatively short-lived and O'Nela went on to achieve much greater things with Bryant and the Lakers. Even so, he'll always pay his proper respect to Penny for how he was able to deliver such elite play from the jump. Unlike him and Bryant, their relationship was smooth as butter and they were always on the same wavelength.

Related: Shaquille O’Neal Claims Kobe Bryant Was The Better Player During His Lakers Run

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