Who is the GOAT among the three players Michael Jordan, LeBron James, and Kobe Bryant? – Lakers legend Shaquille O’Neal points out

Shaq is serious about his Kobe Bryant GOAT debate requirement.

Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant were two of the best players ever to wear a Los Angeles Lakers uniform. Both stars have been mentioned among fans and analysts’ Greatest of All of Time (GOAT) lists for their success. However, Shaq is having issues with Bryant not being mentioned enough.

O’Neal believes Bryant’s success has earned him the right to be towards the top of the all-time list. He explained his stance on his podcast with featured guest and former NBA player JJ Redick.

“The only thing I don’t like about the [GOAT] conversation is they don’t put my boy [Kobe Bryant] in it. If you’re gonna be throwing names around, you gotta have my boy’s name in it. That’s like saying, ‘What are the best luxury cars out there? Lexus or Beemer?’ You gotta put the Mercedes in there too,” Shaq said via The Big Podcast.

O’Neal believes the GOAT debate cannot be mentioned without Kobe Bryant’s name. Shaq’s assertion is fitting when considering all that Bryant has accomplished. The former Lakers shooting guard won five NBA championships, was an 18-time All-Star and 11-time All-NBA First Team member, a league MVP in 2008, and was a two-time gold medalist.

Bryant’s tenacious mentality makes him stand out more in the all-time rankings. The star guard was an extremely hard worker with exceptional attention to detail. His mindset became known as the “Mamba Mentality.”

Bryant’s mindset inspired countless athletes and citizens to excel in their endeavors. Moreover, his partnership with Shaquille O’Neal helped him achieve success during a crucial part of his career, which could be a reason O’Neal respects him so much. The star duo was one of the best in basketball history.

The history of Lakers stars Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant  

When the Lakers unveiled their statue honoring Bryant in early February, O’Neal paid respects to the star on social media and made a big claim about their tenure together.

“Best one-two punch ever. Don’t forget it,” Shaq claimed on Instagram. The former LA big man then followed the post up with an unapologetic comment. “Yeah, I said it.”

In addition to winning three consecutive championships, Shaq and Bryant averaged unreal stats. O’Neal’s best season of the star pairing came during the 1999-200 season. He averaged 29.7 points, 13.6 rebounds, and a whopping 3.0 blocks per game.

Naturally, O’Neal won the NBA’s Most Valuable Player award after his incredible year. Moreover, Bryant’s ascent was the ultimate concealer of LA’s success. He put up 28.5 points, 5.9 rebounds, 5,0 assists, and 1.7 steals during the season leading up to his first title with Shaq.

While the duo was dominant, it did not last forever. In 2004, the Lakers traded O’Neal to the Miami Heat in a deal that centered around Lamar Odom. The separation of Shaq and Bryant marked the end of a short dynasty. However, it did not stop Bryant from winning two more championships with LA.

As basketball fans continue their GOAT debates, one thing is for certain: Shaq wants Kobe Bryant’s name to always be thrown in.

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