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Kobe says he would have won 12 rings if Shaq were in shape, that fist fight brought respect

It has been 15 years since Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal were teammates, and yet tales of their legendary feuds — and championship exploits — never get old.

Kobe was at the PHP Agency Convention in Las Vegas recently, speaking on stage with Patrick Bet-David (the video is above but NSFW), when they talked a little about Shaq and his work ethic. Or lack thereof (“I got hurt on company time, so I’ll heal on company time”). Kobe was asked what would have happened if Shaq had his work ethic.

“He’d be the greatest of all time. He’d be the first to tell you that...

“I wish he was in the gym. I would’ve had 12 f****** rings!”

Kobe was telling all sorts of stories (another is in the Tweet, but again NSFW).

Kobe and Shaq clashed about work ethic and style, but there was a mutual respect for much of the run (the bad blood eventually overwhelmed everything). Kobe also said that respect started when he tried to fight Shaq.

“I know Rick Fox, my teammates thought I was absolutely crazy, the day me and Shaq got in a fistfight…

“There’s a level of respect, for Shaq too, by the way, he’s told me that day was a big turning point for him because he’s generally used to talking trash and saying what he wants and nobody really stepping up and challenging him on that. When he saw me challenge him on that he said ‘this kid’s crazy, alright, I can win with that.’ And that’s the beginning of our relationship, really.”

I’m not sure Kobe and Shaq stories will ever get old. Or will Laker fans ever stop wondering what might have been if... but there were too many ifs.