Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal formed one of the greatest dynasties on the Los Angeles Lakers, also being the last.
Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant teamed up to form one of the most iconic duos of all time. From Shaq’s physical dominance to Kobe’s athletic brilliance, the Los Angeles Lakers overwhelmed opponents during their time together. No team since their run has matched that level of success.
ESPN is generating a lot of buzz with the up and coming release of its documentary on the Chicago Bulls called The Last Dance. Jordan’s Bulls were feared in the 90s, winning six NBA titles. Those Bulls along with the Showtime Lakers are on the shortlist of teams that can be described as dynasties. Teams that won multiple championships and dominated their areas. The Shaq/Kobe Lakers can certainly be called a dynasty.
Today we think of the Miami Heat or Golden State Warriors as dynasties but they fall short of the dominance the Lakers achieved in the early 2000s. Both the Heat and Warriors were able to repeat as NBA Champions, no small feat but they fall short of a very elite club of teams that have won 3 championships in a row. The rare 3-peat. A term coined by former Lakers head coach Pat Riley.
In 8 seasons together Shaq and Kobe made the playoffs 8 straight years, made the finals 4 times, and won 3 straight NBA championships. Only Jordan’s Bull’s and Russell’s Celtics have achieved that level of success.
Between the 1996-97 and 2003-04 seasons, Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant combined for 15 All NBA selections, 8 All-Defensive selections, and 13 All-Star appearances. Shaq also won Most Valuable player in 2000.
We all know how things ended. Shaq was traded to the Miami Heat in 2004 and Kobe remained a Laker for the duration of his career. Both players would continue to win with Shaq winning 1 more in 2006 and Kobe winning back to back titles in 2009 and 2010. I can’t help but wonder if they had at least 1 more title run in them together. They were truly an iconic combination.
Terms like “superstar” and “dynasty” are thrown around too loosely today but Shaquille O’Neal, Kobe Bryant, and their Lakers fit the bill. Nothing is forever but they are currently the NBA’s Last Dynasty.