The Los Angeles Lakers hit their title ceiling with Kobe Byrant and Shaquille O’Neal.
The dynamic duo of Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant is one of the greatest in Los Angeles Lakers and NBA history. In eight seasons together, they won three straight NBA championships and went to the NBA Finals four times in five years.
If they aren’t the greatest duo ever, a strong argument can be made that they’re at least the most talented duo of all-time.
Of course, it didn’t last long enough for most Lakers fans, as O’Neal demanded a trade and was dealt to the Miami Heat shortly after L.A. lost the 2004 championship to the Detroit Pistons.
With Bryant re-upping that summer, the Purple and Gold would eventually reload and win two more rings in 2009 and 2010.
As it was, the entire decade of the 2000s was a golden one for the Purple and Gold, and one to truly cherish.
But for many years, Lakers fans have felt that if the two superstars had remained together, they would’ve won a total of more than five championships before it was all said and done.
However, if one were to take a deeper look, even one more championship would’ve been unlikely.
It’s common for NBA fans to underestimate the degree of difficulty in winning even one world championship, let alone multiple ones. As time goes by, it becomes exceedingly difficult to stay on top of the league for several reasons.
Here are those reasons why O’Neal and Bryant had already maxed out their potential, at least in terms of team success, by 2004.