Jeanie Buss Sheds Light On Shaquille O’Neal-Kobe Bryant Breakup, Says Kobe Isn’t To Blame

Photo Credit: Lori Shepler / Los Angeles Times

Jeanie Buss Sheds Light On Shaquille O’Neal-Kobe Bryant Breakup, Says Kobe Isn’t To Blame


After a four-year tenure with the Orlando Magic, Shaquille O’Neal decided to take his talents to the Los Angeles Lakers. With his arrival, Shaq would form a renowned and deadly pairing with Kobe Bryant, who was taken by the Lakers in the 1996 NBA Draft.

The two players went on to win three straight titles from 2000 to 2002 and ultimately etched their pairing in the history books as one of the greatest duos to ever play the game. But while their pairing will be remembered as one of the greatest of all-time, it will also be remembered as one of the most controversial storylines in NBA history. 

It’s no secret that Shaq and Kobe shared a beef during their time with the Lakers, and despite seeing a huge amount of success, their pairing was eventually cut short after the Lakers sent Shaq to the Miami Heat in 2004, leading a ton of fans to speculate whether Kobe was the real cause of the breakup. 

Now almost two decades later, Lakers CEO and controlling owner Jeanie Buss had the opportunity to shed a light on what actually led the Lakers to part ways with the legendary Lakers big man. Appearing on ‘All The Smoke’ podcast, Buss insisted that it had nothing to do with Kobe.


“Shaq was in a contract year. … Because of the way the collective bargaining agreement was structured, there were some players that were grandfathered in in the new agreement, that you were able to pay them more than the current players, so Shaq was one of those grandfathered players,” Buss said.

“He wanted an amount of money that was legal under the CBA but it wasn’t what my dad wanted to pay him. And so, it came to the point where the decision was made to trade Shaq. And a lot of people want to put that blame on Kobe. It wasn’t. It was purely a money situation.”


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