Shaquille O’Neal apparently went out of his way to keep the ball from Kobe Bryant when he was shooting too much as a young player.
There were times Shaquille O’Neal intentionally kept Kobe Bryant from shooting the ball when the two were teammates with the Lakers.
O’Neal actually had a hand signal with his teammates to keep the ball away from the young guard when he got to Los Angeles, according to Raja Bell who was a teammate of Shaq’s with the Suns.
“Shaq told me a story,” Bell told the “Kanell and Bell” podcast this week, via CBS Sports. “We had a kid named Gordon Giricek on our Suns team, he had gotten there, and Gordon would go in the game, and Gordon was about his buckets. So Gordon would get in, and no matter what we were doing, no matter what the flow or the chemistry was, Gordon would be just, you know, shooting the ball. Gordon was my guy, I played with him in Utah.
“But Shaq started saying, ‘Hey guys, this is the symbol’ (twitches thumbs downward) ‘when I give you this, Gordon doesn’t get the ball anymore.’ And I’m like, ‘Dude what is the background on that, where’d you come up with that?’ And he was like, ‘When Kobe was young, he would be going in and just trying to get ’em, so the rest of us had a universal kind of code that if we looked at each other and went (gives signal) then that meant Kobe didn’t get the ball anymore.'”
The two Hall of Famers have been trading jabs back and forth this week as Bryant first called out O’Neal’s work ethic saying he would have won 12 rings if the center would have worked harder.
O’Neal responded by saying Bryant would have had at least one more ring if he had passed more.