Shaq Once Offered A Teammate $10K To Fight Kobe
Shaq and Kobe Bryant's three-peat Lakers were one of the NBA's most dominant dynasties. On the court, the pair tore the league to pieces and made for one of the best one-two punches in history. But off the court? Those two kinda hated each other. And when those are the two most high-profile personalities on your team, it can create a little friction in day-to-day practices. Take it from Isaiah "JR" Rider, who joined the Lakers in 2001 as a free agent after their first title.
In a podcast interview with Steven Jackson and Matt Barnes, Rider claimed that about three days into his tenure with the team, Shaq sidled on over the way a seven-foot-tall living giant does and told him that he had a good $10,000 in singles that were all Rider's if he "got into it" with Kobe in practice. This wasn't some rookie hazing either, Rider had been in the league for about seven years at that point. Rider, realizing that 10Gs was worth notably less than his actual contract, politely declined.
But still, a hell of an offer, right? Host Matt Barnes laughs it off, probably remembering the times he tried to get into it with Kobe for free and failed:
Meanwhile, the other host, Stephen Jackson asks, "How many days a week you want me to get into it with him?" Which sounds like he's probably joking, until you remember this ...
And this ...
It's funny to laugh about now that these guys are all long retired, and Shaq even spoke graciously at Kobe's memorial service after his fatal helicopter crash all these years later. But a plaque commemorating Shaq offering 10 large for someone to whoop Kobe's ass, in the middle of a championship run, belongs in the Hall of Fame right beside that 2001 Larry O'Brien trophy and a video loop of the "That's How I Beat Shaq" (2001) music video.
Top Image: Sgt. Joseph A. Lee/Wiki Commons