For years, the feud between frenemies Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal dominated headlines, and for those interested in knowing just how nasty that beef was, former teammate Isaiah Rider has the scoop.
On a recent episode of the All the Smoke podcast, hosted by NBA alumni Stephen Jackson and Matt Barnes, the former NBA Slam Dunk Champion dished on the time Shaq offered him a pretty penny for a long-overdue ass whooping.
“So when I first get to the Lakers [in 2000], Shaq tells me, ‘If you and Kobe get into it, it’s 10 Gs in the locker,’ you know what I mean?” Rider revealed as the show’s co-hosts erupted in laughter. “This is three days into practice...I’m like, ‘Man, come on, you playing, man.’ ‘There’s 10 G’s in one-dollar bills, so if you ever get into it and you handle your business, grab that.’”
He continued, “I couldn’t believe it. I’m like ‘Man, these boys are crazy, bro’...But this is my thing: I would’ve been off that team so fast if I laid a hand on that man.”
He ain’t lying, though.
While the troubled scorer joined the Lakers in the middle of its Phil Jackson-helmed three-peat, things between Shaq and Kobe would get infinitely uglier as the years went on before splitting at the seams in 2004.
Thankfully, the two were able to set aside their differences prior to Kobe’s death in January. In its immediate aftermath, Shaq admitted to struggling with his loss.
“I’m not doing well,” he admitted on The Big Podcast With Shaq. “I haven’t eaten. I haven’t slept. I’m looking at all the tapes. I’m sick right now.”
He continued, “This is going to hurt a long time. I have a little brother, but I really lost a brother.”
Kobe’s death was a major loss to the NBA community, but hopefully, Rider’s hilarious story provides a bit of levity during what’s easily been the most turbulent season in NBA history.