Remembering Kobe Bryant’s most iconic Lakers teammates

Shaq and Kobe (MIKE FIALA/AFP via Getty Images)
Shaq and Kobe (MIKE FIALA/AFP via Getty Images) /
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Kobe Bryant is known for being one of the greatest players of all time, flourishing through exceptional individual play. But equally as celebrated are the connections he made with his teammates that translated into five NBA championships.

It’s no secret that, for a significant chunk of his career, the Black Mamba had to be a one-man army for the Lakers. For all the subpar support he received, especially during the middle of the 2000s, there are a handful of players who have left a legacy as some of Kobe Bryant’s most memorable teammates.

Kobe Bryant’s most memorable teammates:

Shaquille O’Neal (1996-2004)

One of the most famous duos across any decade in NBA history, the connection Kobe and Shaq had was nothing short of special. The 7’1″ giant joined the Lakers in Bryant’s rookie year, and while the pair didn’t cause havoc right away, the three-year buildup phase gave the Los Angeles faithful the perfect housewarming party for their new stadium come 2000.

Three years, three rings. Under the tutelage of renowned coach Phil Jackson, the Kobe and Shaq show completely dominated the league from 2000-2002. Though the duo’s feud brought about the end of an era in 2004 and left many wondering what could have been, they later reconciled and forged a newfound friendship which is what lives in the hearts of many, especially after O’Neal’s heartfelt speech at Kobe’s memorial.

O’Neal is the greatest player Kobe ever became teammates with. Shaq was elected to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2016 with distinguished career accolades that include four NBA titles, three NBA Finals MVP plums, the 2000 league MVP award, and 15 All-Star selections. His #34 jersey now hangs in Arena’s rafters forever, fittingly next to Kobe’s #8.