HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — There’s nothing like news from Russia that the Shaquille O’Neal–Kobe Bryant feud that fueled the Lakers all those years was the creation of Phil Jackson.
Not exactly. But when Robert Horry weighs in on the topic, from Russian website Sports.Ru (translation courtesy of Alexander Chernykh and his Rush’n Hoops blog):
I think Phil Jackson started that feud. It happened many times that after team practice he would say, “Kobe said this about Shaq, and Shaq said that about Kobe… We couldn’t believe how could that happen, because just the day before we saw them together, jumping on one another. Phil liked it when there was conflict of some sort.
I always tell people; if you look at those championships, you’ll see who were the closest players on the team. Normally those are the guys who are the first to hug each other. And when we were winning, it was always Shaq and Kobe who hugged. I think this will answer your question. Later it was blown out of proportion by the media and both players started doing something that didn’t make sense.
We’ve already heard from two people who were around the Lakers from the start of that run until ended that dispute the origins of the feud and insist that Jackson only fanned the flames that were already there.
In his own defense, Horry tweeted that the translation was, a bit scattered, to say the least.
I know Jackson is considered a wizard in many circles, but even he would have a hard time starting one of the greatest beefs in the history of sport before he ever showed up to coach the two players involved.