• Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant led the Los Angeles Lakers to three titles from 2000 to 2002
  • The San Antonio Spurs made a playoffs record of 22-straight appearances
  • The NBA legend marveled at the Spurs dynasty, saying they did not have problems

Hall of Famers Shaquille O'Neal, the late Kobe Bryant, and the Los Angeles Lakers were the NBA's gold standard in the early 2000s.

The All-Star duo, along with notable role players like Derek Fisher, Robert Horry and Rick Fox, helped the franchise win three-straight championships from 2000 to 2002, taking the league by storm with sheer dominance.

But in 2003, the four-peat seeking Lakers squad was stopped by an eager San Antonio Spurs side led by legends David Robinson and Tim Duncan in the Western Conference semifinals.

The Spurs eventually won the Finals that year, besting the New Jersey Nets, 4-2, in a moment that started a journey of three more titles and remarkable playoff consistency under head coach Gregg Popovich.

O'Neal himself marveled at the Spurs' dynasty in a recent appearance for Matt Barnes and Stephen Jackson's "All The Smoke" podcast, saying the organization did not have problems throughout the past two decades.

“That’s probably the first time I’m hearing about a dynasty that never had no problems. All the other dynasties had problems,” O’Neal said, confidently adding that the Shaq-and-Kobe Lakers would have won "seven" titles together if it wasn't for the infamous issues they've had.

O'Neal's quote implied that other recent dynasties, like the 1990s Chicago Bulls, 2010s Miami Heat, and the Steph Curry-Klay Thompson-Kevin Durant Golden State Warriors, had issues on and off the floor.

The 7-foot-1 center and Bryant had an infamous feud in the mid-2000s, which along with the former's massive demands led to his departure from the Lakers in 2004.

Jackson, a former Spur himself, even brought up that Bryant had told him the Lakers would have won "close to 10" titles if the Spurs weren't standing in their way.

O'Neal has likewise been outspoken about his regrets from the particular era wherein he could have handled issues with more maturity.

Instead, the Spurs won the 2005, 2007, and 2014 titles with names like Duncan, Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili and Kawhi Leonard.

Their consistent greatness also prevented contenders like the Dallas Mavericks, Phoenix Suns, Detroit Pistons, and Oklahoma City Thunder from either repeating or reaching the NBA Finals.

Overall, including the 1999 championship run, the Spurs made the playoffs 22 consecutive years until the 2019-2020 season, tied for the longest streak in NBA history with the Philadelphia 76ers franchise.

San Antonio's streak included winning 50+ games each season for a span of 18 straight years, even more impressive when considering the competition in the West.

O'Neal himself would have had a much more decorated career if the Lakers juggernaut wasn't contained—but that is testament to the Spurs dynasty's decades-long legacy.

Shaquille O'Neal
NBA legend Shaquille O'Neal attends the grand opening of Shaquille's At L.A. Live at LA Live on March 09, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. Michael Tullberg/Getty Images