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A look at the early beef between Shaq and Kobe

There is no rivalry in NBA history quite like the Kobe Bryant-Shaquille O’Neal rivalry the Lakers saw firsthand for years.

Los Angeles Lakers Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images

The Lakers have a strong argument for the greatest duo of all time in Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant. Inarguably, they have the most fascinating successful duo in the league’s history.

For a league that now is known for the drama and storylines that surround it, there perhaps may not be a duo that would have been more perfectly suited for the modern NBA in that regard than Kobe and Shaq. While the two eventually found success on the court, their off-court fighting nearly derailed things before they even started and ultimately, it was those very issues that ended the dynasty with so much still on the table.

Before the pair started their three-peat, the seeds of a beef were laid and that was the focus of the latest Secret Base video in their Beef History series, which was released on Tuesday.

The part of the Kobe and Shaq beef that always stuck out is just how diametrically opposed the two were in their craft despite both being among the greatest to ever play the game.

Kobe was borderline maniacal — and oftentimes just simply maniacal — in his approach to the game. He wanted to be the best and nothing was going to stop him. Shaq? Well basketball was his 9-5 job and that’s how he treated it.

This video starts to plant those seeds at the tail end and, presumably, will expand on it in future videos. While a lot went into their rivalry, so much of it can be boiled down to one guy caring only about winning at that point in his career and the other not.

The fortunate part of all of this is that the two reconciled after Shaq’s playing days and late in Kobe’s career. This all would have a different tone if they weren’t able to squash things before Kobe’s unfortunate passing.

Now, it’s a fascinating moment in history that is going to lead to three very fun videos to watch in the coming weeks.

You can follow Jacob on Twitter at @JacobRude.

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