Shaquille O’Neal Reacts To Kobe Bryant’s Tragic Death, ‘I’m Sick Right Now’

Shaquille O’Neal wore his heart on his sleeve when reacting to the death of his friend and former teammate, Kobe Bryant. As The Inquisitr reported, Bryant was killed, along with four other passengers, when his private helicopter crashed in Calabasas, California Sunday morning. Bryant’s daughter, Gianna, is reportedly among the dead.

“There’s no words to express the pain Im going through with this tragedy of loosing my neice [sic] 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 tweeted minutes ago.

O’Neal and Bryant — who captured three consecutive NBA titles together with the Los Angeles Lakers between 2000 and 2002 — were engaged in a notorious feud for years. The two began playing together in Los Angeles in 1996; the Lakers drafted Bryant and signed O’Neal as a free agent after his initial four-year deal with the Orlando Magic was up.

“I’m not gonna be babysitting,” O’Neal reportedly said when the Lakers signed Bryant.

Bryant apparently kept teammates at a distance and his general quiet, confident demeanor was interpreted as arrogance. The Lakers managed to avert headlines away from the burgeoning player feud when they signed coaching legend Phil Jackson to run the team’s bench in 2000. His tenure began with three consecutive NBA Championship victories. Under Jackson, O’Neal and Bryant took the Lakers on another postseason run in 2003, but they fell to the eventual champions, the San Antonio Spurs, in the conference finals.

As reported, O’Neal was traded to the Miami Heat in 2004, when it was clear the two were simply unable to see eye to eye.

Bryant and O’Neal eventually reconciled and became friends. According to The Washington Post, this new stance started after the 2009 NBA All-Star Game. The two players shared MVP honors for the game and Bryant told O’Neal to take the trophy home, which he did, giving the prize to his son. A candid conversation between the two aired prior to the 2018 all-star game, in which O’Neal apologized and admitted that the feud was, at least in part, fabricated.

“You told me to take the trophy home,” O’Neal said. “I took it home and gave it to Shareef. I realized then that I may have messed something up. Because a lot of times that our beef was going on, you know me, I’m the master of marketing. About 60 percent of the time, I was just saying to keep it going.”

“I was an a—— to this guy [Bryant], so I owe you an apology….Thank you for that moment because Shareef loved that moment. …He loves you for that and I love you for that moment.”

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