Shaquille O'Neal Celebrates Friendship With "Heaven's MVP" Kobe Bryant During Public Memorial

Shaquille O'Neal celebrates friendship with “Heaven’s MVP” Kobe Bryant during celebration of life. See the best moments from the speech.

By Mike Vulpo Feb 24, 2020 8:49 PMTags

Shaquille O'Neal will never forget his special teammate.

During Monday's celebration of life for Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna Bryant, many speakers from the basketball community were able to share their fond memories of the Los Angeles Lakers player.

But when it came time for Shaq to speak, he couldn't help but bring some humor to a celebratory day.

"Kobe was a loyal friend and a true renaissance man. As many of you know, Kobe and I had a very complex relationship throughout the years," he joked. "Kobe and I pushed one another to play some of the best basketball of all time."

Shaq continued, "Sometimes like immature kids we argued, we fought…We never took it seriously. In true, Kobe and I always maintained a deep respect and a love for one another." The memory that really got the audience laughing was when Shaq recalled asking Kobe to pass the basketball more often during games.

Kobe Bryant: Life in Photos

"I said 'Kobe, there's no I in team' and Kobe said 'I know, but there's a ME in that mother—ker,'" Shaq recalled. The line quickly got laughs from Magic Johnson, Dwyane Wade, Stephen Curry and even Kobe's wife Vanessa Bryant.

Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

All jokes aside, Shaq also paid his respects to a talented teammate and friend who created magic on and off the basketball court.

"Mamba, you were taken away from us way too soon. Your next chapter of life is just beginning. Now it's time for us to continue your legacy," he shared. "You said it yourself that everything negative, pressure, challenges…they are all opportunities for me to rise. So we now take that advice and now rise from anguish and begin with healing."

Shaq continued, "Just know we've got your back little brother. I'll look out for things around here. I promise I will not teach [your daughters] my free-throw techniques…Kobe, you're heaven's MVP. I love you, my man, until we meet again. Rest in peace Kobe."

To honor Kobe and Gianna's legacy, the Mamba and Mambacita Foundation provides opportunities to young people through sports.  For more information or to donate, please click here.