The LA Times reports the resolution to the beef, which started 11 years after O’Neal was traded to the Miami Heat after playing for the Los Angeles Lakers, occurred during Bryant’s appearance on O’Neal’s “The Big Podcast with Shaq.”
In the episode, which is now available, the former Lakers teammates reminisced on their infamous feud as O’Neal kicked things off on the podcast, saying it was “time to clear the air” about his relationship with Bryant.
“I just want people to know that I don’t hate you, I know you don’t hate me. I call it today a ‘work beef,’ is what we had,” said the 43-year-old former NBA all-star, who retired after the 2010-11 season. “I was young, you was young. But then as I look at it, we won three [championships] out of four so I don’t really think a lot was done wrong. So I just wanted to clear the air and let everybody know that, no, I don’t hate you. We had a lot of disagreements, we had a lot of arguments. But I think it fueled us both.”
For Bryant, the beef was filled with more than enough moments and things said that created a rocky road for the formidable duo when they played for the Lakers from1999-2004. During their time together, Bryant and O’Neal emerged as one of the most powerful duos in NBA history as they brought three championships to the team in 2000, ’01 and ’02, despite constant conflict with each other.
“When you say it at the time, you actually mean it,” Bryant said. “And then when you get older, you have more perspective, you’re like, ‘Holy . . . I was an idiot as a kid.’ To me, the most important thing is you keep your mouth shut. There’s no need to go to the press. You keep it internal.