Raja Bell reveals how Shaq tried to stop Kobe from hogging the ball.
Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant didn't always see eye-to-eye during their run as teammates with the Los Angeles Lakers, despite the fact that they won three consecutive championships.
Kobe's recent comments about Shaq's work ethic, and Shaq's response about Kobe not passing enough, has reignited some of their past issues, including a story about how Shaq and the Lakers tried to freeze Kobe out if he was jacking up too many shots.
During a recent episode of the Kanell and Bell podcast, former Suns guard Raja Bell described how Shaq used a sort of hand signal to alert his teammates not to pass to Gordan Giricek when they were teammates in Phoenix during the 2007-08 season. According to Bell, this was a tactic Shaq first started using during his time with the Lakers.
Says Bell (H/T CBS Sports):
"Shaq told me a story. We had a kid named Gordon Giricek on our Suns team, he had gotten there, and Gordon would go in the game, and Gordon was about his buckets. So Gordon would get in, and no matter what we were doing, no matter what the flow or the chemistry was, Gordon would be just, you know, shooting the ball. Gordon was my guy, I played with him in Utah."
"But Shaq started saying, 'Hey guys, this is the symbol (twitches thumbs downward). When I give you this, Gordan doesn't get the ball anymore.' And I'm like, 'Dude, what is the background on that...where'd you come up with that?'," Bell said.
"And he was like, 'When Kobe was young, he would be going in and just trying to get 'em, so the rest of us had a universal kind of code that if we looked at each other and went (gives signal) then that meant Kobe didn't get the ball anymore.'"