They are older and a little less petulant, but don’t think the Shaq v. Kobe rivalry is dead.
In his post Game 7 press conference last June, Kobe Bryant was quick to say last year that “I got one more (ring) than Shaq.” That rivalry still matters to him (Kobe uses everything for motivation).
“My first thought [after hearing that] was, ‘Well, I guess I’m still relevant,'” O’Neal said. “Kobe is still thinking about me, I guess. I’m still someone to be measured against.
“But I don’t compete with little guards. I don’t compete with little guys who run around dominating the ball, throwing up 30 shots a night — like D-Wade, Kobe.
“Now if Tim Duncan said it, I’d be pissed. He’s the only guy I’m competing with. If Tim Duncan gets five rings, then that gives some writer the chance to say ‘Duncan is the best,’ and I can’t have that.”
Shaq has a real shot at another ring this season. So does Kobe. Wade’s got a ways to go, but he was at the heart of moves this summer to put himself in this conversation as well.
Duncan, well, he may not get any more rings but when it comes to being classy about it he’ll outpace them all. Easily.