Former Los Angeles Laker Shaquille O’Neal has opened up about the nightmare he is living in the wake of his teammate and “brother” Kobe Bryant’s death. During a special episode of The BIG Podcast with Shaq, the 47-year-old admitted that he’s “not doing well” and “is sick” after Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna lost their loves in a helicopter crash along with seven others on Sunday.
O’Neal told his podcast co-host John Kincade that he is just now getting over the death of his sister – who passed away from cancer in October – and the same thing hit him when he found out the tragic news about Bryant was real and not a hoax.
O’Neal explained that he was downstairs with his son Shaqir, 16, when his other son Greg showed him the news report that Kobe and Gianna had been killed in a helicopter crash.
“I yelled at Greg, I said, ‘Yo, man, get that s–t out of my face. Get that out my face,’” said Shaq. “I figured someone was just playing around. I didn’t want to believe it.”
However, when people started calling him to ask if he could confirm or deny the news, he realized “it must not be a hoax cause now the whole world knows this information.” He kept asking for it not to be true, but then the news was confirmed.
“[It was] sad enough [to lose Kobe], then you hear his daughter was with him. I didn’t do anything,” O’Neal said as his voice shook with emotion. “I haven’t eaten. I haven’t slept. I’m looking at all the tapes, but I’m sick right now.”
O’Neal added that this is going to hurt for a long time. He said he wished Kobe was here and he wishes he could say something to him. He also said that his heart goes out to Vanessa Bryant because “she lost two.”
“I have a little brother, but I lost a brother yesterday,” said O’Neal.
The basketball legend also addressed the feud between him and Bryant back in 2004 that led to O’Neal asking for a trade. He said that despite all of the things that were documented between them, there was never a dislike. They were family, and they loved each other, as well as their respective wives and children.
Shaquille O’Neal said that brothers fight all of the time, but they still love each other. He added that he has four rings, and he knows he wouldn’t have three of them without Kobe Bryant.
View this post on Instagram
Kobe was so much more than an athlete, he was a family man. That was what we had most in common. We love our families. Whenever we got together I would hug his children like they were my own and he would embrace my kids like they were his. His baby girl Gianna was born on the same day as my youngest daughter Me’Arah. I miss you already brother. This is truly unbelievable. Everyone please keep the Bryant’s in your prayers. R.I.P
O’Neal also revealed that he is going to “delete” his “beef and confrontation clause.” He explained that he isn’t going to do that anymore because you never know. The NBA hall-of-famer said that he has already called people he had discrepancies with and told them that he loved them.
“And we didn’t talk much over the phone, but I just — I just wish we did,” said Shaq. “You know, we’re sort of like similar guys, hey, family first, business and I’ll see you when I see you. I have a lot of best friends, but I don’t do the mushy talking on the phone thing.”
Shaquille O’Neal has been posting tributes on social media to his brother, Kobe Bryant. He just posted an amazing video on Instagram highlighting their years as Los Angeles Lakers together. For any fan of Shaq and Kobe, it’s a must watch.