Four-time NBA champion Shaquille O’Neal named the late Kobe Bryant as his favourite playing partner. O’Neal and Bryant were once a formidable attacking duo for the Los Angeles Lakers, and thrived under the stewardship of renowned coach Phil Jackson.
“Kobe was my favourite partner. We had great times together. We spent eight years together, and won three titles in a row. I also spent three years with Dwayne Wade, one year with LeBron James, and four with Penny Hardaway. Penny would be my second favourite partnership, but playing with Kobe will always be very, very special to me,” O’Neal said at a NBA District event here on Wednesday.
O’Neal, one of the greatest centres of all time, named Golden State Warriors star Stephen Curry as his favourite current player. “Steph Curry is my favourite. There are great shooters, and there are phenomenal shooters. There will never be anyone who can shoot like him. Trae Young, Damian Lillard are good shooters, but Steph is special,” O’Neal said.
The 50-year-old spoke about the NBA Abu Dhabi Games 2022, which features two pre-season games between the Atlanta Hawks and Milwaukee Bucks. The games will be held at Etihad Arena here on Thursday and Saturday.
“Because of the great players we have in the NBA, the game is expanding. These pre-season games here are going to be very exciting,” O’Neal said.
The biggest applause from the big, excited crowd came when O’Neal gave his answer to a question on the greatest basketball player of all time. “Michael Jordan,” O’Neal said emphatically, to wild cheers.
(The writer is in Abu Dhabi on invitation from the NBA)
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