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Shaquille O'Neal surprised with his improved speech and interviewing skill - (SS - photo)


This is it… THE PLAYERS ONLY TV show - (SS - photo)


Winning three NBA titles together wasn't enough for both Shaq & Kobe - (SS - photo)


Michael Jordan gave Kobe advice - (SS - photo)


Love Lost - (SS - photo)





James Loving - National Radio Text Service



They won three titles together, argued and split up. Shaq went on to win another title in his first year with the Miami Heat giving O'Neal four titles to Bryant's three. Bryant later went on to win two more titles with the Lakers giving him five to Shaq's four. It was these dynamics that set the background of what might be the most revealing interview uncovering Kobe Bryant's thinking and thoughts. This is a MUST WATCH…



Wednesday, April 14, 2021

An interesting video available on You Tube is a Players Only TV show with Shaquille O'Neal interviewing Kobe Bryant. To his credit O'Neal did a great job interviewing Bryant in getting Kobe to open up and address how he felt about being an NBA player and his competition to be the best by wanting to best Michael Jordan and Shaq.

Well that might stimulate some basketball lover's memory since the two former teammates clashed during the 2004 season resulting in the Lakers losing to the Detroit Pistons in the playoffs and snapping the Lakers three-peat NBA title run.

Having interviewed and producing radio features and writing stories on both talents it's clear that Shaq has cleaned up his speech so he can be understood.

I first interviewed Shaq when he was with the Orlando Magic. The encounter came about when the Magic played the Golden State Warriors. Following the game I interviewed O'Neal for a radio feature and barley understood what he was saying. His speech was so mumbled that it wasn't suitable for a feature thus, a waste of time.

I was shocked when Shaq started recording rap music since I couldn't believe that he could speak clearly enough to be understood. I've never heard his music but his interview with Kobe was a pleasant surprise. Perhaps his speech improvement could be attributed to his maturity and growth as a man and a player. As he aged and succeeded apparently it helped him gain confidence and put his shyness and immaturity behind.

When I interviewed Kobe in his rookie year his speech was clear and concise resulting in a story that other journalists enjoyed reading and complimented me on it.

In Bryant's 2nd season he shaved his head. When I asked why, he succinctly replied FOR STYLE. I always found Bryant to be cooperative and pleasant. That is not the case with many professional athletes, but that's another story for another time.

In this Players Only show interview I was astonished at Shaq's interviewing skill. The two reflected on their first meeting when Bryant came to an Orlando Magic game. Bryant was a big fan of Penny Hardaway. After the game Bryant approached Hardaway for an autograph and he was brushed off. When he then approached O'Neal, Shaq accommodated the then kid.

The two gloated over their three title successes in particular their 2002 Western Conference title series against the Sacramento Kings. Bryant preferred to refer to them as THE QUEENS.

This series was one of the most controversial NBA series in its history. I wrote a column about how there were too many controversial calls going the Lakers way. Bryant and Shaq were overly confident that they would win the series. They pointed out that the Kings fans mooned them when their bus came to the Arena. When the Lakers won the series after the seventh game the Lakers team mooned the Kings fans when they bus left the stadium.

The series turned out to be fixed. An official during the series did jail time after a cheating scandal was revealed. He took the fall and the league swept it under the rug. That Kings team led by Chris Webber and Vlade Divac was better than the Lakers. They were robbed by cheating officials. This perspective and information was not a topic in the interview between the two former Lakers teammates.

Shaq and Bryant had a falling out resulting in Shaq being traded to the Miami Heat. During the course of the season Bryant was quoted in the press complaining about Shaq being childlike and the Lakers were his (Shaq's) team and he should act like it (and be more responsible and take care of his health and weight).

Shaq was skillful in bringing those moments up and the two reflected on it with enjoyment. It's as if the result was life's lesson of… NO PAIN NO GAIN.

Shaq admitted that he was incensed when Bryant won his fifth title. He admitted throwing things around his house. This was a this was then and now moment, where maturity prevailed.

O'Neal got Bryant to open up about his competition with Michael Jordan. Bryant claimed that Jordan gave him advice. Bryant and Jordan became good friends. Bryant felt that Jordan saw something in him that he liked and took him under his wing and gave him NBA game play and attitude tutelage.

The two former teammates gloated over their three titles. Shaq pointed out how proud he was seeing how Bryant developed into a great player that had a killer attitude. It was the Bryant's killer attitude that got O'Neal's attention.

O'Neal cleverly inserted his killer attitude experience by pointing out that he gained it growing up in military bases where he played basketball with the older soldiers. Since he was a BIG BABY HUEY the soldiers threw him around and picked on him.

O'Neal was the Charley Brown (the Coasters song) of his time and must have been singing, 'Why is everybody always picking on me.?' The experience helped toughen him up as a result.

Bryant noted his growing up in Italy and he and his brother and sister were the only black kids around. Kobe said he was six years old at the time and went through school while learning the language and being black in an Italian environment.

That situation helped toughen him up and being what he considered being alone (in his environment.) What Shaq did in this interview is masterfully insert his experience occasionally which helped loosen Bryant up. If Shaq had only focused on asking questions given their history together it could have sounded like an interrogation.

Shaq succeeded in his interviewing talent unlike the failure of former Laker star Magic Johnson who always talked about himself when interviewing someone when he had a television show that failed and was canceled.

This interview is a must watch and a keeper given the greatness of the two, no doubt, Hall Of Fame players given the history between the two and their contributions to the game.

For those that are interested in O'Neal although I couldn't produce an audio feature on him I have written several columns regarding his careers. Some are in the French language and several in English @ Lakers sub. I also wrote a story regarding the comparisons of Bryant or Jordan being the best.

Related: Kobe Bryant or Michael Jordan

Related: Los Angeles Lakers

Related: NBA MAX French language

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