NEW YORK (AP) — Shaquille O’Neal says he’s satisfied being the most dominant Los Angeles Lakers player, and has no problem with former teammate Kobe Bryant passing him on the NBA’s career scoring list.
“He’s still playing; I’m not playing, so it was good,” O’Neal said of Bryant moving into fifth place in NBA scoring during Monday’s loss to the Philadelphia 76ers.
“I never wanted to be the best Laker,” O’Neal added, “I wanted to be the most dominant. I was that.”
The comments were a follow-up to a message O’Neal sent Monday night congratulating Bryant.
O’Neal offered his congratulations on Twitter: “Congrats to Kobe for being the greatest laker ever thanks for making us the greatest laker one two punch ever and congrats on passin me up 2.”
The 33-year-old Bryant is the NBA’s leading scorer, averaging 29.4 points. He has 28,601 career points and trails Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Karl Malone, Michael Jordan and Wilt Chamberlain.
“It’s really a great honor for him and his family,” O’Neal said.
O’Neal says playing with Bryant made up “the best eight years of my life,” contrary to their often fiery relationship as teammates.
O’Neal described it as “marketing.”
“You know we pushed each other,” O’Neal said. “A lot of people thought we really had problems, but the problems I created were just for everyone to look at us, to notice us.”
O’Neal said the media often took it further.
“A lot of those guys don’t really have personality and to get people to look at their paper they added onto it a little bit,” he said.
“It was like a non-TV reality show. People are still talking about it, so obviously I did my job as a marketer.”
Later this month, O’Neal will host the second annual Hall of Game Awards. The high-energy, multi-platform experience lets viewers vote for their favorite sports stars and sports moments of the year. It airs Feb. 20 on Cartoon Network.
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.