Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal were championship teammates, but also bitter competitors. But on Sunday, Shaq put aside any and all animosities he may have had and poured his heart out in a wonderful tribute to Kobe.
The 41-year-old Kobe Bryant was one of nine people who died on Sunday from a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California, which included his 13-year-old daughter Gianna. The sports world has mourned the tragic death of a legendary NBA player on social media. Now Shaw, one of Kobe’s biggest supporters as well as one of his biggest detractors, has come forward to pay his respects.
On Sunday afternoon, Shaq shared posts on Twitter and Instagram where he shared his feelings about the shocking death of Kobe Bryant.
Shaq posted four photos of the two Los Angeles Lakers legends and said he is “sick right now” about the tragedy of losing Kobe and his daughter Gianna (Gigi).
“There’s no words to express the pain Im going through with this tragedy of loosing my neice Gigi & my brother @kobebryant. I love u and u will be missed. My condolences goes out to the Bryant family and the families of the other passengers on board. IM SICK RIGHT NOW.”
O’Neal followed that tribute with another tweet, this time talking about how both they were both family men.
“Kobe was so much more than an athlete, he was a family man. That was what we had most in common. I would hug his children like they were my own and he would embrace my kids like they were his. His baby girl Gigi was born on the same day as my youngest daughter Me’Arah.”
Kobe had a legendary basketball career, playing on the Lakers from 1996-2016, where he led Los Angeles to five NBA championships. Three of those world championships came when Shaq was on the Lakers. Despite their unmatched talents that complimented each other wonderfully, the two players didn’t’ always see eye-to-eye, which prompted O’Neal to get traded to the Miami Heat in 2004.
Sadly, Kobe was only weeks away from being named as a Hall of Fame player. This year was Bryant’s first year of eligibility to be named as a candidate for the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, which would have been announced during All-Star week in February.
You can read dozens of more reactions from the sports world and celebrities, including Magic Johnson and Dwayne Wade, to the tragic death of Kobe Bryant HERE.