USA Today published Phil’s insight
“Shaq didn’t work at it,” Jackson said. “Michael was able to succeed despite all kinds of limitations in his game. He couldn’t hit an outside shot. He couldn’t defend. But all of that went away because of his work ethic. Kobe saw that as a pinnacle that he had to reach, and he took it to a whole new level.”
After winning three straight titles with the Los Angeles Lakers from 2000 to 2002, O’Neal and Bryant had a famous falling out, and Jackson pointed to their personalities as a cause.
“Shaq had a clown role he had to play,” he said. “So that was part of the rift.”
O’Neal’s outsized personality made him one of the most popular players in the NBA, but it clashed with Bryant’s serious-minded approach. In the end, Kobe won out.
The Shaq and Kobe feud was legendary and it makes you wonder how much more championships they would have one if they were on the same page.