Shaquille O’Neal vs Kobe Bryant
Once dubbed the “biggest travesty in sports” by NBA onlookers, the feud between Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant lasted for the better part of a decade, and remained the biggest storyline amidst a potential Los Angeles Lakers dynasty in the early 2000’s. It was a simply a matter of two great players, two enormous ego’s, and two vastly different personalities not being able to relinquish their “alpha dog” status on the team. As the biggest personality — figuratively, and literally — on those great Lakers teams, O’Neal went out of his way to state the fact that the Lakers were his team, and that any success the team had coincided with O’Neal’s success.
However, as O’Neal began to break down physically (from all the pounding he would take year after year), and as Bryant’s abilities continued to grow, the latter resented how the former’s playing skills diminished, but his ego hadn’t. It all finally came to a head when Lakers General Manager Mitch Kupchack traded away O’Neal after the 2004 season, per his request, as O’Neal was highly displeased with the fact that the Lakers were not going to bring back Phil Jackson, and believed that the franchise wanted to make Bryant their centerpiece.