Former NBA player Isaiah "J.R." Rider opened up about his experiences with a young Kobe Bryant while appearing on a podcast. During the interview, he revealed when he played for the Los Angeles Lakers that Shaquille O'Neal offered him $10,000 if he would fight Bryant.
The basketball community has continued to mourn the tragic death of the Lakers legend and many former players have shared personal stories about the future hall of fame guard. In a recent appearance on the All The Smoke podcast hosted by former NBA veterans Matt Barnes and Stephen Jackson, Rider opened up about his experiences playing against and alongside Bryant.
After recalling several memorable moments competing against Bryant in his early years, Rider told a story about an offer O'Neal made to him when he first joined the Lakers for the 2000-2001 season. This was after O'Neal and Bryant had won their first championship together but the two had a well-publicized fractured relationship. The former Slam Dunk champion said the Lakers center offered him $10,000 to fight his teammate during practice.
"When I first get to the Lakers, Shaq tells me, if you and Kobe get into it, it's 10 G's in the locker. This is three days into practice."Rider apologized on the podcast for not giving O'Neal a head's up about airing the story. At first, he thought his new teammates were playing a joke on him but O'Neal doubled down on the offer.
"'There's 10 G's in one dollar bills, if you ever get into it and you handle your business, grab that,'" the Lakers big man told Rider.
Jackson asked his podcast guest why he did not go through with it and tussle with Bryant for the bounty. The former Laker said he knew the coach and management would kick him off the team for scrapping with the All-Star guard.
"But this is my thing, I would've been off that team so fast if I laid a hand on that man," Rider said.
The former NBA player said he and Bryant had heated battles during practice and the Lakers guard told head coach Phil Jackson that he always wanted Rider to guard him because he enjoyed the challenge.
Warning: Video contains offensive language. According to Clutch Points, the former NBA guard played only 67 games with the Lakers that season and although he was not on the playoff roster, the team still gave him a ring when they won the championship after going 15-1 in the playoffs.
As covered by The Inquisitr, Bryant will be posthumously enshrined into the basketball hall of fame later this year.