Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant took some time after his team’s 126–115 loss to the Chicago Bulls on Sunday to talk about his former teammate Shaquille O’Neal, according to USA Today.
Bryant avoided talking about the often contentious relationship between the two, instead focusing on the opportunity to win championships without the help of one of the most dominant centers ever.
“It was always the challenge of, ‘Kobe can’t win without Shaq,' right? If I had went my whole career and we had won championships, God bless you guys, but guys would be saying at the Hall of Fame, ‘He won with Shaq.’ I didn’t want to hear that. I didn’t want to hear it,” Bryant said. “Because I knew I had the determination to do it and it was either sink or swim. At some point I was going to take that challenge, and it was either you guys are right or I’m right. I had to take that challenge.”
Bryant won two championships after O’Neal left Los Angeles, earning NBA Finals victories over the Orlando Magic in 2009 and Boston Celtics in 2010.