Shaquille O’Neal shares heartfelt story of meeting Kobe Bryant

Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O'Neal (Photo by AFP/AFP via Getty Images)
Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O'Neal (Photo by AFP/AFP via Getty Images) /

Shaquille O’Neal told Jimmy Fallon the story of when he first met Kobe Bryant

It has been six months since basketball icon Kobe Bryant died tragically in a helicopter crash. Family, friends, and fans continue to mourn while also celebrating Bryant’s life and achievements. Former Los Angeles Lakers teammate Shaquille O’Neal is among those who have tried to remain positive while remembering Bryant.

Shaq and Kobe will forever be linked thanks to their time together with the Lakers. The pair won three consecutive championships between 2000 and 2002, cementing their legacies as two of the most dominant players of all time. And while their post-Lakers feud has earned plenty of headlines, the duo had left all that in the past.

O’Neal was a guest on Thursday night’s The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. It was the first chance that Jimmy Fallon and Shaq had a chance to discuss Bryant’s passing.

Fallon asked O’Neal if he remembers first meeting Kobe and Shaq quickly changed gears from silly to sincere. The story ended with another heartfelt and emotional message from O’Neal.

Kobe Bryant’s fans, friends, and family continue to spread positivity in his name

It was only by chance that Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant met while the legendary center was still with the Orlando Magic. If Penny Hardaway had been able to make time for the teenage Bryant, then maybe O’Neal wouldn’t have this nice story to share with Jimmy Fallon.

Shaq’s story is another example of how those affected by Bryant’s death have tried to remain positive and share these kinds of stories. In the world of late night television, hosts like Jimmy Kimmel, Conan O’Brien, and Stephen Colbert all offered condolences and shared heartwarming stories about Bryant from on and off the court.

Tonight Show fans may also recall that Fallon has his own story about meeting Kobe Bryant. He and Bryant shared the story from 1996 during a 2015 episode.

Whether it was a fellow basketball player, a comedian, or a fan, it is clear that Kobe Bryant made a strong impression on everyone he met. You can be sure to hear more stories like these from Shaquille O’Neal and Jimmy Fallon when Kobe gets his own documentary.

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Do you have any favorite memories about watching Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal? Let us know in the comment section below.