He was sitting in the Staples Center on Center Court on Tuesday evening and a grief-stricken Shaquille O'Neal was in tears as he continued to mourn the death of Kobe Bryant.
"I haven't felt the pain that much in a while," said O'Neal as part of TNT's tribute to his former Lakers running partner.
O & # 39; Neal said he was working in his basement on Sunday when one of his nephews showed him his cell phone and told him that 41-year-old Bryant had been killed that morning by a helicopter crash in Southern California where he was killed seven people were killed, including Bryant's 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, on their way to Bryant's basketball facility.
"And I snapped [the nephew]"Said O & # 39; Neal and did not believe the news." We live in a world in which everything can be recorded with photoshops.
"Everyone called me and we found out that it was confirmed."
O'Neal, 47, said Bryant's loss, with whom he had an up-and-down relationship, hurt even more because Shaq had just lost his younger sister Ayesha to cancer in October.
"Now I've lost a little brother," Shaq said when the rest of the jury, including Ernie Johnson, NBA greats Charles Barkley, Kenny Smith and Dwyane Wade, comforted him.
O'Neal said the "final blow" was when he found out that Gianna, an aspiring band that wanted to play in the WNBA, was among the dead.
Shaq and Kobe led the Lakers to three successive championships from 2000 to 2000, but beef between the two led O’Neal to Miami in 2004.
O’Neal won a heat title with Wade two years later, while Bryant won championships in 2009 and 2010.
After Bryant retired in 2016, it seemed the two had reconciled, even though O'Neal said he hadn't spoken to Bryant as much as he wanted in the past few years.
During his podcast on Monday, O'Neal said he hasn't eaten or slept since the accident.
"I'm just sick," he said on the podcast. "And I know that an idiot has the relationship that I and Kobe had. Our relationship was that of the brothers. We are brothers in this podcast, John, we fight all the time. But real life is all about respect when I see you and your beautiful wife. "