Years after enduring sleeping trouble for Kobe Bryant, Shaquille O’Neal reminds fans of iconic 56 pointer tribute by “Black Mamba”

During a pivotal game in 2001, Kobe Bryant showed remarkable team spirit by paying respect to Shaquille O’Neal. Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal formed an unstoppable force for the Los Angeles Lakers as they chased NBA titles in the early 2000s.

Kobe decided to honor his friend by wearing #34 on his playing shoes against the Memphis Grizzlies after Shaq was banned from the NBA. This gesture represented his undying loyalty to his suspended teammate and was a touching reminder of the special friendship that existed between Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal during the Lakers’ dynasty era.

Kobe Bryant wrote 34 on shoe to tribute Shaq

After Shaquille O’Neal’s ban from the NBA in 2001, Kobe Bryant wanted to pay tribute to his friend in a special way during the next game. Because of Shaq’s absence, the offensive load increased on Kobe, and the young Mamba responded admirably.

During the game, Kobe wore the number 34, Shaq’s jersey number, on his Adidas shoes. As a visual tribute to his suspended teammate and a representation of their unbreakable bond on the court, this act was a powerful statement.

Kobe Bryant displayed his tremendous scoring ability by scoring 56 points on 62% shooting in just three quarters of that game. Shaq, who clearly was moved by the performance, posted a photo on Instagram to mark the occasion.

The three NBA titles won by Shaq and Kobe in just eight years are a treasured part of the Lakers’ storied history, despite the friction and contrasts that characterized their union. The impact of Shaq’s MVP finals performance and Kobe’s emergence as a budding star on the Lakers’ legacy will forever be gilded across the pages of franchise history.

Shaquille O’Neal revealed sleeping trouble after losing Kobe

In recent years, Shaquille O’Neal, a titan on and off the NBA floor, has had to overcome enormous psychological and emotional obstacles. Despite Shaq’s prominence in the NBA and his productive partnership with Kobe Bryant in the early 2000s, his life took a tragic turn in October 2019 when his sister, Ayesha, died of cancer.

But the devastating blow continued even after that. After Kobe Bryant, a close friend and former teammate, died in a fatal helicopter crash in early 2020, Shaq went through the unimaginable pain of losing his buddy and former comrade. Normally upbeat Shaq was profoundly affected by this string of tragic events, and he admitted as much when he said, “I don’t go to bed till 5 AM… The deaths of Kobe and my sister have left me unable to rest.”

The complexity of relationships and the long-lasting effects of bereavement are illuminated by these moving discoveries, which further highlight the enormous impact of Kobe Bryant’s death. As a lesson of the value of making amends and appreciating time spent with loved ones, Shaq’s story is a powerful one.

Sami Haider

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Sami Haider is an NBA writer at SportsKnot. His foray into basketball scriptwriting started in 2020, when he was enthralled by the Los Angeles Lakers' NBA championship victory. His previous experience was limited to dribbling and dunking as a neighborhood kid. His insightful writings show how much he loves the sport. His writing goes beyond numbers and scores, giving readers a unique viewpoint on the players, teams, and events that define the basketball scene. Whether you're a die-hard fan or a casual observer, Sami's work is essential for anybody trying to expand their knowledge and love of the NBA.


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