Shaquile O’Neal and Allen Iverson Pay Tribute to Kobe Bryant on His Birthday

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Brook Jackson, Staff Writer

On Sunday, August 23, it would have been Kobe Bryant’s 42nd birthday. Kobe Bryant was an NBA Hall of Fame superstar.  He was the shooting guard for the Los Angeles Lakers. Bryant spent his entire career with the Los Angeles Lakers. Sadly Bryant died in a helicopter crash in January of 2020. People all around the world were devastated to hear that the astonishing basket player and his daughter died in the helicopter crash. On Sunday Shaquille O’Neal had some things to say on Kobe’s birthday.

Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal played together for  the Los Angeles Lakers from 1996 to 2004. They won three consecutive NBA championships in 2000, 2001, and 2002. The Lakers also made an appearance in the NBA Finals in 2004. For each of their victories, Shaquille O’Neal was the NBA Finals MVP. These wins started a feud with some of the players, so Shaquille was traded and headed to the Miami Heat. Then Kobe re-signed to play for the Lakers again. During those 9 seasons, Bryant and O’Neal were like brothers, even though they didn’t see eye to eye about everything. 

On Sunday, August 23, USA Today interviewed O’Neal. O’Neal talked about his grieving and his regrets he had during his friendship with Bryant.  During the interview, he also said there were some things he wished he could tell him. O’Neal is still trying to heal from the loss of his longtime teammate. During the interview, O’Neal said,” I don’t want to see anyone go out like that and never to be able to talk to him again. The thing that hurt me was all the stuff that I wanted to say, I hadn’t said it. I never said it.” During this interview, you could feel that he was trying to tell people from all around the world not to  leave things unsaid. In the interview, O’Neal also stated, “You never know what stuff is going to happen, so you shouldn’t let stuff linger.”

In the USA Today interview, O’Neal explained, ”There’s a myth that you have to be best friends to win championships. We only have to have one thing, and that’s respect.”  This statement addressed the conflict he had with Kobe.

Sunday, O’Neal posted a video on Instagram featuring O’Neal and Bryant’s  highlights together saying, “Happy Birthday Kobe. They couldn’t stop REIGN,” for his caption.

In the meantime, basketball icon Allen Iverson also paid tribute to Kobe Bryant on Sunday as well. Allen Iverson and Kobe Bryant played against each other multiple times. These two players never really had any controversy. The friendship they had was very easy going. Allen Iverson also wrote a tribute to Bryant titled “ Dear Kobe,” published by The Players’ Tribune. In Allen Iverson’s tribute “Dear Kobe,” Iverson said, “Me and you, every single time we stepped on that floor, we were going to war. But it wasn’t an animosity thing. There was never any beef.”

After Bryant’s birthday on Sunday, the Lakers played Monday night against the Portland Trail Blazer. That night each player for the Lakers wore “Black Mamba,” uniforms that were designed by Bryant himself. The Lakers won that game Monday night with a score of 135 to 115.