If Only Shaq, Kobe Said It in Public

Apr 2, 2013; Los Angeles, CA, USA; From left to right, Los Angeles Lakers former members Jerry West, and James Worthy, and Elgin Baylor, and Phil Jackson and Jamal WIlkes join Shaquille O'Neal for a ceremony to retire his jersey during halftime of the game against the Dallas Mavericks at the Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

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Even now, years later, Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal can’t seem to get together

[Los Angeles Times]

Shaquille O’Neal dominated the Staples Center court one more time Tuesday, in a halftime jersey retirement ceremony that perfectly mirrored his Lakers career.

It was booming. It was poignant. It was funny. It had thousands of fans chanting and cheering.

And Kobe Bryant appeared to blow him off.

“Can … you … dig … it?” asked O’Neal, repeating his trademark championship chant for a sellout Staples Center crowd that screamed its affirmation.

Bryant apparently couldn’t, as he chose to record only a brief video tribute that ran on the scoreboard at the start of the ceremony. It was as if he were in Russia instead of just 45 steps away in the locker room during halftime of the Lakers’ eventual 101-81 victory over the Dallas Mavericks.

“I would like to have been out there but I couldn’t do it, this was just too big of a game,” Bryant said afterward. “I had to stay back here [in the locker room] stretching and getting ready for the second half.

Bryant laughed and added, “I appreciate you guys trying to start some stuff for old times’ sake.”

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