Last summer, during one of the most hectic offseasons in recent memory, the NBA transitioned from the “big three” era to an era of dynamic duos, seemingly overnight. Now, we have superstar pairings such as Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and James Harden, Giannis Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton, Paul George and Kawhi Leonard, and, of course, LeBron James and Anthony Davis.
Each of those duos has the potential to make their mark on NBA history, but it’s hard to imagine any of them will accomplish enough to insert themselves into the “greatest duo of all time” conversation, and it has nothing to do with their talent — it’s just that the duos that came before them were so, so good.
From Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar to Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen, the NBA has seen some talented tandems over the years, however, only one can be the greatest of all time, and former Lakers fan favorite Metta World Peace weighed in on the debate via Twitter last week:
In the eight seasons Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant played together, they made the NBA Finals four times and won three championships. The only team to beat the Shaq and Kobe Lakers in the Finals was the Detroit Pistons in 2004. While Bryant and O’Neal might not have a perfect Finals record like Jordan and Pippen, the former’s sheer dominance in the postseason shrinks the gap between them.
During the 2000-01 season, the Lakers went 15-1 in the playoffs, which is the second-best run in NBA playoff history. The only reason it’s not the greatest run in playoff history is because the 2016-17 Golden State Warriors played one more game than the 2000-01 Lakers, and therefore have a better winning percentage with a 16-1 record.
Shaq and Kobe also led the Lakers to 12 consecutive playoff wins on the road, which is the most in NBA history.
They were incredible, and they absolutely deserve to be in the conversation for the greatest duo of all time.