Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant were the most dominant duo in the NBA in the early 2000s. They had a chance to replicate what Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen did with the Chicago Bulls, but egos got in the way.
Bryant was a rising star and his relentless work ethic and tough personality often clashed with the more easy-going Shaq. He thought he didn't take the game seriously enough and repeatedly called him out in public.
For years, people have speculated what could've been if the Lakers had kept them together. But contrary to popular belief, Shaq recently revealed that he didn't leave the team because of Kobe. Instead, it was all about money.
Shaq Says He Left The Lakers Because Of Money
"The reason why I got traded; it wasn’t about me and Kobe’s beef. It was that they wanted me to take less money. I’m not doing that," Shaq said in an interview. "I got money; I had money. I just should’ve been like, ‘Alright, I raised you enough. It’s your team now. I know what I’m going to do. I’m still going to do my 28 and 10.’ But I was like, ‘Nah, I want $150 [million].’"
"If I had to do it all again, I probably would have had a meeting with the family. ‘What y’all want to do? You want me to take less money, take a lesser role, stay here, or do you still want me to be Shaq?’” O’Neal said. "See, it’s that ego. The ego still got me what I wanted. I still went to Miami, Pat took care of me, and I still won one. But I would have liked to stay [in L.A.] the rest of my career."
Shaq has always been about getting the bag, so this doesn't come as a surprise. He's got countless endorsements and business ventures, so you know he wasn't going to take a discount, not even for the Lakers.