Former NBA star Robert Horry told a Russian sports website that the imfamous feud between former teammates Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal was started by the team’s head coach, Phil Jackson.
USA Today has the translation of Horry’s words on the feud:
“I think Phil Jackson started that feud. It happened many times that after team practice he would say, "Kobe said this about Shaq, and Shaq said that about Kobe… We couldn't believe how could that happen, because just the day before we saw them together, jumping on one another. Phil liked it when there was conflict of some sort.
I always tell people; if you look at those championships, you'll see who were the closest players on the team. Normally those are the guys who are the first to hug each other. And when we were winning, it was always Shaq and Kobe who hugged. I think this will answer your question. Later it was blown out of proportion by the media and both players started doing something that didn't make sense.”
Together Bryant and O’Neal helped the Lakers win three consecutive NBA titles from 2000-2002. The rift between the two forced Los Angeles to choose between the two superstars, and the Lakers sent the 32-year-old O’Neal to the Miami Heat before the 2004-05 season.