Despite three Finals MVP, Shaquille O’Neal surprisingly admits Kobe Bryant was the better player on Lakers

Shaquille O'Neal knows what ego and useless titles can do to a team's goal of winning a championship.

Despite three Finals MVP, Shaquille O’Neal surprisingly admits Kobe Bryant was the better player on Lakers

Shaquille O'Neal admits Kobe Bryant was the better player on the Los Angeles Lakers

Shaquille O’Neal won 3-Finals MVP en route to becoming a 4-time champion and an eventual Hall of Fame inductee. The first three of those NBA championships came alongside the late great Kobe Bryant with the Los Angeles Lakers. People debate who had better influence in those three championships. Most lean towards Shaq over Kobe. However, O’Neal made a serious admission.

O’Neal has acknowledged before that having Bryant alongside enabled him to win titles. Now, he has come about to admit something else. ‘The Big Aristotle’ was on the panel of NBA TV as they were courtside covering the NBA Finals Game 2. The big man gave his example when they discussed the mind games going on between the two teams.

When I stopped worrying about useless titles, started winning championships. In my Lakers' runs, I wasn't the best player on the team, I knew that. But I knew I was the most dominant. I knew my role, I knew what I had to do. I wasn't worried about useless titles. If those two young gentlemen are worried about useless titles, who's the best in the team, whose team it is. It will definitely affect them tonight. Not only will it affect this game, but they will lose the series.
Shaquille O’Neal via NBA TV (X Account)

This admission suggests O’Neal knew all along that he was not the best player on their 3-peating Los Angeles Lakers teams. Rather, it was Kobe Bryant who was the better overall player.

If Shaquille O’Neal had been more interested in being known as the best player on the team, it would have affected his game. In the same way, it would have affected Bryant’s play. Instead, as O’Neal revealed, he knew his role. Bryant and all their Lakers teammates did, too.

That is why they could win 3 NBA titles. They could have won more, but their ego stepped in and stopped any further success. Shaquille O’Neal knows that ego is the one thing that destroys teams, just like it did for him back in the day.

Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant could have won more than 3 NBA championships

Until legendary head coach Phil Jackson arrived, Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant were building up their chemistry. Then, after Jackson’s arrival, they went on to win three straight NBA Championships. Nevertheless, the team was well-placed to win more.

O’Neal was still the most dominant player in the league, and Bryant became one of the best young superstars. But, O’Neal’s decision to delay a toe surgery started to show that he wanted to be known as the best player on the team. Which meant his actions and demands were that of the face of the franchise. This is why his dedication fell off, but he still went into a verbal altercation with then-owner Jerry Buss regarding a pay raise.

This led to a rise in tensions between Shaquille O’Neal, Kobe Bryant, and the rest of the Los Angeles Lakers franchise. To this day, O’Neal knows he could have won more. Nevertheless, as he mentioned, his ego got in the way.

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