When Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers beat the Boston Celtics in the 2010 NBA Finals to acquire Bryant’s 5th championship, he famously framed the achievement by saying, “I got one more than Shaq,” talking about Shaquille O’Neal’s 4 rings.
Bryant was able to one-up O’Neal once more as he passed his previous colleague for 5th place on the NBA’s best-ever scoring list in the second quarter of the Lakers’ game against the Philadelphia 76ers. NFL scores
Bryant hit a lengthy jump shot from the apex of the key with 5:07 remaining in the 1st half to bump him past O’Neal.
Bryant’s bucket was originally ruled a 3-pointer and then was modified to a two after the shot was reviewed.
“To say it is a big respect would certainly be an understatement,” Bryant said after the game. “It’s plenty of basketball. I have been very, very fortunate to have such good career.”
Bryant accomplished the night with 28 points as the Lakers lost 95-90.
Bryant was obviously more disappointed in the loss than satisfied from passing O’Neal. The Los Angeles Lakers are 14-11 on the season and just 3-9 on the road. They hardly get the outward appearance of a championship favorite and at about that point in Bryant’s career; all he plays for is the opportunity to lift the Larry O’Brien Trophy in celebration as the last team standing at the end of the season. NFL odds
“I just desire No. 6, man,” Bryant said, referring to his championship count, when asked where he needed to accomplish on the best-ever scoring list when he go away. “I’m not asking for too much, man. Just give me a sixth ring, damn it.”
Whilst Bryant and O’Neal had their arguments over the years, the big man was content for his former playing teammate.
“I need to personally congratulate Kobe on being the best Laker ever,” O’Neal announced straight after Bryant passed his mark. “His accomplishment is great and well deserved, and I am truly proud of him. He told me when he was 18 years of age that he’d go down as the best Laker ever, and one of the greatest players in history. And he was not lying.
Bryant was touched by O’Neal’s affirmations.
“I respect it,” Bryant expounded. “I’m sure Shaq and I will connect at some particular point and revisit history. However it’s fun. We had some fun times, man. We had some fun times. So many thank you is what I have to say (to O’Neal).”
While Bryant has passed the likes of Jerry West, Allen Iverson, Charles Barkley and Larry Bird on the all time scoring list in recent seasons, passing O’Neal meant more to him.
“Yes (it’s more important), because of our background,” Bryant declared. “The actions that we’ve been in, the playoff actions and sort of the couple that we’ve been able to create and the uninterrupted championships make it a little bit more important.”
O’Neal abandoned this past offseason after scoring 28,596 points in a 19-year career with Orlando, Miami, Phoenix, Cleveland, Boston and the LA Lakers. Bryant, a 16-year veteran, now trails only Wilt Chamberlain (31,419 points), Michael Jordan (32,292 points), Karl Malone (36,928 points) and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (38,387 points).
“It is an amazing honor,” Bryant related. “There’s plenty of work that you lay in to get to this point. To be in (the top) five category with them, it’s particular.”
Bryant and O’Neal won 3 championships together and reached the Finals 4 times in the 9 seasons they spent as Los Angeles Lakers squad (1996-2004).