Shaquille O’Neal Says He’s ‘Not Doing Well’ After Kobe Bryant’s Death
Shaquille O’Neal has spoken out about how he’s been doing following the untimely death of his friend and former Los Angeles Lakers teammate, Kobe Bryant.
The pair won three NBA Championships together over the course of eight seasons; their lives and legacies tied inextricably together.
Opening up about his grief, O’Neal, 47, has admitted he is ‘not doing well’, having not slept since learning about the horrific helicopter crash that ended the lives of Bryant, 41, his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, and seven other people.
This terrible personal bereavement has been made all the more painful following the recent loss of O’Neal’s sister, Ayesha.
Speaking on his podcast, The Big Podcast With Shaq, O’Neal said:
I’m not doing well. I’m sick. I’m just getting over the death of my sister. You guys told me the other day when I came in I looked like I needed some rest.
I haven’t been sleeping after Ayesha’s death because, not thinking about just the good times, but times I could’ve did something, or I could’ve said something or could’ve did something different, or could’ve loved her more or could’ve showed her more support. And the same thing hit when I found out this news.
O’Neal also addressed the public perception that he and Bryant didn’t see eye-to-eye, telling co-host John Kincade how their relationship had been like ‘that of brothers’:
I haven’t eaten, I haven’t slept. I’m looking at all the tapes. I’m sick right now. And I know some idiot’s gonna bring up the relationship me and Kobe had.
Our relationship was that of brothers. We’re brothers on this podcast John, we argue all the time. But in real life when I see you and your lovely wife, it’s all about respect.
O’Neal went on to lament how he and Bryant never had to chance to grow old together at each other’s side, reminiscing over their glory days on the basketball court:
This is gonna hurt for a long, long time. I want to see everybody get old like Bill Russell and Dr. J. so we can have stories. We still are the best duo ever created, that’s not gonna change.
But I wish at 60 and 70, in the old folks home or on this show, we could talk about it. But he will be remembered.
As reported by USA Today, O’Neal signed with the Lakers as a free agent in 1996, merely weeks after Bryant was signed in a draft-day deal with the Charlotte Hornets. They would both go on to become legends on the court, securing titles for the Lakers in 2000, 2001 and 2002.
Their personal lives would also go on to intersect in meaningful ways. Gianna, who O’Neal has referred to as his ‘niece’, was born on the very same day as O’Neal’s youngest daughter, Me’Arah.
Our thoughts are with the family members and friends of all those who died in the helicopter crash.
If you have experienced a bereavement and would like to speak with someone in confidence contact Cruse Bereavement Care via their national helpline on 0808 808 1677.
CreditsThe Big Podcast With Shaq and 1 other
The Big Podcast With Shaq