So after giving us that awesome Kevin Garnett oral history (which detailed him smashing his head through the wall watching “Making the Band”), Bleacher Report is back at it with an oral history of the 2003-04 Lakers — which the author Ric Bucher refers to as “the first super team.”
We always knew things were testy between Kobe and Shaq, but as you can see in the screen-grab from the article above, it got pretty serious on occasion. John Black (for pretty much all of you who are wondering) was the Vice President of Public Relations for the Lakers, and also apparently not afraid to keep it real. Man, would I have liked to have been a fly on the wall in that practice.
The ’03-04 season was the year the Lakers picked up Gary Payton and Karl Malone, but still lost to the Pistons in the NBA Finals in five games. Aside from injuries to the Mailman, a lot of blame was placed on Shaq and Kobe for not co-existing. Remember, this was during a time that Shaq was trying to get a monster contract extension (and wound up getting traded to the Heat after the season) and Kobe was dealing with rape charges in Colorado, flying back and forth to games (and weighing a decision on a player option to become a free agent and leave the Lakers) … what I’m trying to say is a lot was going on.
The “murder” threat was the clear highlight of the article, but here are a few more quick highlights.
On Kobe performing through his court case:
On how serious Kobe was about leaving:
Where things really broke down between Shaq and Kobe:
And, of course, the bidding to make Luke Walton your rookie:
Much like the KG story, this was an awesome read. Whole lot of good stuff here.
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