KEY POINTS

  • Shaquille O’Neal admits that he misses his former teammate Kobe Bryant
  • O’Neal and Bryant are among the successful duos that played in the NBA
  • Bryant passed away in 2020 due to a tragic helicopter crash

Los Angeles Lakers fans honored the late Kobe Bryant who died in a helicopter crash on January 26, 2020.

It was a tragic incident that shook the world with most still having a hard time accepting that the man known as “The Black Mamba” has passed away.

Tributes poured with some recalling the achievements of the five-time NBA champion. Among them is Shaquille O’Neal, someone who teamed with Bryant to win three NBA titles from 2000 to 2002.

Together, their tandem was one of the best duos ever to play in the NBA. Unfortunately, that relationship soured at some point, one of the reasons seen as to why the Lakers faltered in the 2004 NBA Finals.

Regardless, the two eventually buried the hatchet and ended up as friends.

O’Neal was one of the most affected when news broke out of Bryant’s passing two years ago.

“I haven’t felt a pain that sharp in a while. It definitely changed me,” O’Neal said on a special TNT pregame show a few days after Bryan's untimely demise.

The 49-year-old admitted that he had a lot of fond memories with Bryant, and one thing that constantly rings a bell is a digitally-enhanced picture of him and Bryant as elderlies.

"This is a picture I always imagined. Someone did a mockup of 70-year-old Kobe and 75-year-old me and I actually had it blown up and I actually l have that picture in my house and I look at it every day," he told Brooke Thomas of Fox 11.

It would have been something to see O’Neal and Bryant older and still standing side-by-side.

Aware it is no longer possible, all the 2000 NBA Most Valuable Player can do is ponder on what could have been.

"If I had one wish, I wish that he was still here and we could possibly have that moment," he stated

 Kobe Bryant (L) of the Los Angeles Lakers holds the Larry O'Brian trophy as teammate Shaquille O'Neal (L) hold the MVP trophy after winning the NBA Championship against Indiana Pacers 19 June, 2000 Kobe Bryant (L) of the Los Angeles Lakers holds the Larry O'Brian trophy as teammate Shaquille O'Neal (L) hold the MVP trophy after winning the NBA Championship against Indiana Pacers 19 June, 2000 Photo: Getty Images | AFP/AFP