The relationship between Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O'Neal has been notoriously icy over the decades, but has largely thawed out as the pair has aged, and their tenure together as teammates has become more distant. With Shaq dishing out his thoughts on TNT regularly these days, it's inevitable to hear the big man's feelings on Bryant's career as it winds down.
As it turns out, one of Kobe's No. 1 enemies for a period of time might just have the greatest compliment he's ever been given. In O'Neal's opinion, Bryant is the greatest Laker to ever live.
Number one: The greatest Laker player ever. It was amazing that he played one franchise for 20 years, did it his way. He accomplished everything he set out to accomplish. I remember when he first came in, he said he wanted to be better than Michael Jordan — like, young fella, hold up — but passed him up in points. One championship less than what Mike has. But to be the greatest Laker ever, I think that's an amazing accomplishment.
They got Kareem. They got Wilt. They got Magic. So, I think him going out as the greatest Laker ever, going out the way he did, I think it's remarkable. Plus, you've got a guy that didn't go to college, came from high school. And to accomplish all that from high school, not going to college, I think it's great.
Here's video of the exchange with Charles Barkley, Kenny Smith and Ernie Johnson, via TNT.
— NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) April 13, 2016
Whether Kobe is actually better than the likes of Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Jerry West is up for debate. But for that kind of comment to come from a player of O'Neal's stature -- especially one who knows Bryant so well -- means a lot.
Bryant is set to play the final game of his NBA career on Wednesday night.