Rivers of ink flowed over the separation of Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal as a successful sports couple in the Lakers at the beginning of the 21st century. The idea that almost everyone has in their head is that, after the triplet of 200, 2001 and 2002, it jumped into the air because of the bad relationship that existed between the two players and that only time and that they were separated I can fix the other before the end of the race and the subsequent death of Bryant. But within the Los Angeles franchise there is another perception. In the Buss family, the one that operates as owner, that is not the idea. And Jeanie, who is now in charge, speaks with knowledge of the facts: her father was the one who had to deal with that and the one who would later become her partner, Phil Jackson, was the one who had had the two players in charge.
In an interview on All The Smoke, the Matt Barnes and Stephen Jackson podcast, Jeanie buss recounts how it was lived within the Lakers that three-band pulse:
“He wanted an amount of money that was legal under the agreement at the time, but it was not what my father wanted to pay him. And there came a point where the decision was already to transfer Shaq. Many people blamed Kobe Bryant, but not it should. It was a purely economic decision. ”
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The difference was about $ 9 million. In a champion squad, like this one, not only the stars should have their share of the cake, there should also be well-matched supporting players. Shaquille O’Neal already had three titles under his belt and wanted more, something he ended up getting in Miami with Dwyane Wade at his side. In 2003, having already lost the title to the Spurs to Gregg Popovich, he faced Jerry Buss, the owner, during a friendly in Hawaii, challenging him to pay him what he wanted after making a powerful dunk. In 2004, after losing the Finals to the Pistons, the divorce was consummated: On July 14, the Lakers sent O’Neal to the Heat and received Lamar Odom, Caron Butler, Brian Grant and a first-round draft pick. .