BOSTON (CBSLA.com) – Former Lakers coach Phil Jackson said he blamed Shaquille O’Neal’s poor work ethics and clownish personality was cause of the rift between him and Kobe Bryant.
The NBA’s most successful coach was in Boston for the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference to share the work ethics of players he’s coached. Those players are the best to ever play the game – Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, Bryant and Shaq.
“Shaq didn’t work at it,” Jackson said. “Michael was able to succeed despite all kinds of limitations in his game. He couldn’t hit an outside shot. He couldn’t defend. But all of that went away because of his work ethic. Kobe saw that as a pinnacle that he had to reach, and he took it to a whole new level.”
Bryant’s work ethic has been known around the league as the most intense as any other player in the NBA.
The Lakers won three straight NBA titles from 2000 to 2003, before Shaq split with the team and departed to Miami where he won his fourth NBA title.
“Shaq had a clown role he had to play,” Jackson added. “So that was part of the rift.”
O’Neal currently works for TNT’s Inside the NBA where his ‘clownish’ personality fits in perfectly with Charles Barkley and Kenny Smith.