1996-2004: Shaq And Kobe Bryant

After sweeping the <a class="taxInlineTagLink" id="ORSPT000194" title="Brooklyn Nets" href="/topic/sports/basketball/brooklyn-nets-ORSPT000194.topic">New Jersey Nets</a> in the 2002 <a class="taxInlineTagLink" id="15008001" title="NBA" href="/topic/sports/basketball/nba-15008001.topic">NBA</a> Finals for their third-straight championship, the relationship between Bryant and O'Neal began to turn sour. The two began feuding as O'Neal insisted that the Lakers were his team and made a number of pointed remarks toward Bryant, while Bryant took offense and criticized O'Neal's leadership abilities. The verbal sparring slowed down through the season, but came to a boil again in the offseason when O'Neal demanded a trade. He was then dealt to the <a class="taxInlineTagLink" id="ORSPT000190" title="Miami Heat" href="/topic/sports/basketball/miami-heat-ORSPT000190.topic">Miami Heat</a> in exchange for <a class="taxInlineTagLink" id="PESPT005521" title="Lamar Odom" href="/topic/sports/basketball/lamar-odom-PESPT005521.topic">Lamar Odom</a>, <a class="taxInlineTagLink" id="hpa516" title="Caron Butler" href="/topic/sports/basketball/caron-butler-hpa516.topic">Caron Butler</a>, <a class="taxInlineTagLink" id="PESPT002721" title="Brian Grant" href="/topic/sports/basketball/brian-grant-PESPT002721.topic">Brian Grant</a> and a first round pick, officially making the Lakers Kobe's team.<br>
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Pictured: Los Angeles <a class="taxInlineTagLink" id="PESPT008523" title="Shaquille O'Neal" href="/topic/sports/basketball/shaquille-oneal-PESPT008523.topic">Shaquille O'Neal</a>, left, <a class="taxInlineTagLink" id="PESPT005719" title="Gary Payton" href="/topic/sports/basketball/gary-payton-PESPT005719.topic">Gary Payton</a>, center, and <a class="taxInlineTagLink" id="PESPT000948" title="Kobe Bryant" href="/topic/sports/basketball/kobe-bryant-PESPT000948.topic">Kobe Bryant</a>, right, look on from the bench in the final minutes of the Lakers' 100-87 loss to the <a class="taxInlineTagLink" id="ORSPT000099" title="Detroit Pistons" href="/topic/sports/basketball/detroit-pistons-ORSPT000099.topic">Detroit Pistons</a> during game five of the NBA Championship at the Palace of Auburn Hills in Auburn Hills, Michigan, on June 15, 2004. The Pistons beat the Lakers in 5 games. <br>
hrt-krt-sports-lakers-oc20090625075005

( MICHAEL GOULDING / KRT / June 15, 2004 )

After sweeping the New Jersey Nets in the 2002 NBA Finals for their third-straight championship, the relationship between Bryant and O'Neal began to turn sour. The two began feuding as O'Neal insisted that the Lakers were his team and made a number of pointed remarks toward Bryant, while Bryant took offense and criticized O'Neal's leadership abilities. The verbal sparring slowed down through the season, but came to a boil again in the offseason when O'Neal demanded a trade. He was then dealt to the Miami Heat in exchange for Lamar Odom, Caron Butler, Brian Grant and a first round pick, officially making the Lakers Kobe's team.

Pictured: Los Angeles Shaquille O'Neal, left, Gary Payton, center, and Kobe Bryant, right, look on from the bench in the final minutes of the Lakers' 100-87 loss to the Detroit Pistons during game five of the NBA Championship at the Palace of Auburn Hills in Auburn Hills, Michigan, on June 15, 2004. The Pistons beat the Lakers in 5 games.

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