Shaquille O'Neal apologized to Kobe Bryant for how their partnership fell apart in 2004 after they had won three titles together.
O'Neal had a moment of realization on his part after they were named co-MVPs of the 2009 All-Star Game.
“You told me to take the trophy home and I took it home and gave it to (my son) Shareef. And I realized I may have messed something up,” O’Neal said. “A lot of times that our beef was going on, you know me. I’m the master marketer. I would just say it to keep it going. But when you did that when you didn’t have to do that, I said to myself, ‘Luckily, I won three out of four with this guy. But I was an [expletive] to this guy.’
“So, I owe you an apology. I’m going to give you an apology, but we don’t need to be doing all of that crying like Magic [Johnson] and Isiah [Thomas]. But thank you for that moment. Shareef loved that moment. I was going through a lot at the time. He loves you for it, and I love you for that moment. So thank you.”
O'Neal sought an extension from the Lakers in 2004 as Bryant approached free agency. Bryant was preparing to sign with the Bulls if O'Neal signed an extension, but the Lakers traded O'Neal.