Kobe: ‘I’d have 12 f—ing rings’ if Shaq was in shape

Kobe says he would have won 12 rings if Shaq were in shape, that fist fight brought respect

Kurt Helin | Yahoo Sports

It has been 15 years since Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal were teammates, and yet tales of their legendary feuds — and championship exploits — never get old.

Kobe was at the PHP Agency Convention in Las Vegas recently, speaking on stage with Patrick Bet-David (the video is above but NSFW), when they talked a little about Shaq and his work ethic. Or lack thereof (“I got hurt on company time, so I’ll heal on company time”). Kobe was asked what would have happened if Shaq had his work ethic.

“He’d be the greatest of all time. He’d be the first to tell you that…

“I wish he was in the gym. I would’ve had 12 f****** rings!”

Kobe was telling all sorts of stories (another is in the Tweet, but again NSFW).

Kobe and Shaq clashed about work ethic and style, but there was a mutual respect for much of the run (the bad blood eventually overwhelmed everything). Kobe also said that respect started when he tried to fight Shaq.

“I know Rick Fox, my teammates thought I was absolutely crazy, the day me and Shaq got in a fistfight…

“There’s a level of respect, for Shaq too, by the way, he’s told me that day was a big turning point for him because he’s generally used to talking trash and saying what he wants and nobody really stepping up and challenging him on that. When he saw me challenge him on that he said ‘this kid’s crazy, alright, I can win with that.’ And that’s the beginning of our relationship, really.”

I’m not sure Kobe and Shaq stories will ever get old. Or will Laker fans ever stop wondering what might have been if… but there were too many ifs.

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Shaquille O’Neal burns Dwight Howard while squashing beef with Kobe Bryant

Nick Schwartz | USA TODAY SPORTS

After the comments started to circulate, Bryant tweeted on Wednesday that O’Neal was still the “#MDE” (most dominant ever). O’Neal defended himself on Instagram, commenting that the Lakers wouldn’t have immortalized him with a statue if he didn’t work hard.

“U woulda had twelve if u passed the ball more especially in the finals against the pistons #facts”

“You don’t get statues by not working hard”

Bryant then cleared the air on Twitter, and wrote that he and Shaq are “too old to beef.”

Shaq responded by roasting new Lakers center Dwight Howard, who also famously clashed with Bryant during his initial spell in Los Angeles.

NBA fans celebrated Shaq and Kobe putting aside their differences to clown Howard.

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