Shaquille O’Neal and Dwyane Wade paid tribute to Kobe Bryant on TNT’s pregame show on Tuesday night, honoring their former teammate and opponent two days after his death.
“We’re not going to be able to joke at his Hall-of-Fame ceremony,” O’Neal said to start the program. “We’re not going to be able to say, ‘I got five [championships], you got four.’ …We’re not going to be able to stay ‘if we had stayed together we would have gotten 10 [championships]. Those are the things you can’t get back”
O’Neal shared that the last time he talked to Bryant was before his legendary 60-point night against the Jazz to end his career.
Wade discussed his drive to match Bryant on the floor. The three-time champion said he wanted Bryant to “look at me as an equal.”
“There was one person I wanted that respect from,” Wade said on TNT. “One person I wanted to look at me as an equal. And look at me eye to eye. And that was Kobe Bryant.”
Tuesday marks the third day of games since Bryant’s tragic death on Sunday morning. The 76ers hosted the Warriors in the first game of the night, honoring Bryant with 33 seconds of silence. Bryant wore No. 33 at Lower Merion high school in Philadelphia.
Bryant and O’Neal won three championships in a row together in Los Angeles from 2000-02. Wade went 11–9 against Bryant in his career, and the duo played together on the 2008 United States Olympic Team.