NBA legend Shaquille O’Neal is still struggling with the tragic death of Kobe Bryant.
“I haven’t felt a pain that sharp in a while,” O’Neal said on Tuesday (Jan. 29) during a TNT tribute to Bryant on the floor of the Staples Center. “I have never seen anything like this. All the basketball idols I grew up, I see them, they’re old … The fact that we lost probably the world’s greatest Laker, world’s greatest basketball player … people say take your time and get better. But it’s going to be hard for me.”
O’Neal’s emotional comments came on the same day that the Los Angeles Lakers were scheduled to play their first game following Bryant’s death. However, the game was postponed in light of the current situation.
“We, our names will be attached together for what we did,” O’Neal said during the telecast. “People always ask about our relationship, and I tell them it’s just like me and Charles [Barkley]. You got two strong-minded people that are going to get it done that way … going to say certain things, but the respect will never be lost, but when it comes to being inside the lines and winning, that is what me and him, that is what we did.”
It has been quite a rough time for O’Neal personally, as he also lost his sister of cancer last October.
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“My spirit just left my body,” O’Neal said about the moment he got the news of Bryant’s death. “I just wish I could be able to say one last thing to the people that we lost because once you’re gone, you are gone forever, and we should never take stuff like that for granted.”