“It was inevitable” was how Kobe Bryant described himself eventually passing Shaquille O’Neal to move into fifth on the all-time NBA scoring list — which he did with a long two pointer in the second quarter against the 76ers Monday night. Kobe had all 24 he needed to move past Shaq in the first half. (Then went cold, but that’s another story.)
While he may play it down, make no mistake Kobe is savoring this — there is still no love lost between him and Shaquille. The feud was real. It was not all Phil Jackson, although Jackson used it to his advantage. Remember when Kobe won ring number five he couldn’t wait to remind everyone that is one more than Shaq? He will privately savor this.
Shaquille O’Neal knows how to sell books. Make friends, not so much. But he’s going to sell copies of his new book.
We already brought you excerpts where Shaq throws Kobe Bryant under the bus (and only Brian Shaw had a level head and dealt with the situation, but you don’t want him to be the Lakers coach). And there was the part where Shaq said he didn’t back down from Pat Riley.
Next up, LeBron. And how he didn’t listen to coach Mike Brown (via Hoopsworld).
LeBron was a huge star. He was as big as I was in 2000 in L.A. when I was dominating the league. … Our coach, Mike Brown, was a nice guy, but he had to live on edge because nobody was supposed to be confrontational with LeBron. Nobody wanted him to leave Cleveland, so he was allowed to do whatever he wanted to do.
I remember one day in a film session LeBron didn’t get back on defense after a missed shot. Mike Brown didn’t say anything about it. He went to the next clip and it was Mo Williams not getting back and Mike was saying, “Yo, Mo, we can’t have that. You’ve got to hustle a little more.” So Delonte West is sitting there and he’s seen enough and he stands up and says, “Hold up, now. You can’t be pussyfooting around like that. Everyone has to be accountable for what they do, not just some us.” Mike Brown said, “I know, Delonte. I know.” Mike knew Delonte was right. …
I’m not sure if Kobe is going to listen to Mike Brown. LeBron never really did. Here’s what we do know: Kobe will definitely be in charge.
I think the Kobe and Brown dynamic will be different because of the stage of his career. Brown was handcuffed with James. Kobe and the Lakers nearing the end of a championship window and they can’t waste a year feuding with the coach. They have no choice but to buy in. Kobe may be in charge but he is passionate about things like film and studying the game. It’s a different dynamic.
But it makes you wonder how Erik Spoelstra and Pat Riley deal with LeBron. Or do they have an intermediary in Dwyane Wade who can help?