Kobe Bryant was set to play for the Bulls in 2004

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Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant were one of the NBA’s greatest duos, but neither of the alpha dogs wanted to be viewed that way.

As part of the NBA All-Star Weekend, TNT broadcast “Players Only: Shaq & Kobe,” an hourlong face-to-face interview where the two superstars spoke about the differences and struggles that ultimately led to their separation.

The compelling discussion took many twists and turns.

Though the duo had already won three titles together, after losing to the Detroit Pistons 4-1 in the 2004 NBA Finals, Bryant wanted to break away from O’Neal. Little did Kobe know that the Lakers were already trying to shop Shaq.

“See I didn’t get any of that, cause we were looking for homes,” Bryant said. “We were actually looking for homes in Chicago, researching schools, places to live.”

.@kobebryant and @SHAQ talk details about their eventual break up from the @Lakers. #PlayersOnly pic.twitter.com/J8Wqygzx0V — NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) February 18, 2018

From “Players Only:”

Shaq: I had actually heard that, but I didn’t believe it. Kobe: Oh yeah, oh yeah. We were looking for places in Chicago, man, we were flying up there to meet with [Jerry] Reinsdorf and [John] Paxson. Shaq: You were gonna leave sunny California to go to cold-ass Chicago? Kobe: Vanessa signed off on moving to out to, Lake Forest, I think it was in Chicago. We went on vacation to Italy, and I got a phone call. Rob Pelinka called me, and he said, ‘Shaq just requested a trade.’ I was like, ‘well there goes Chicago, because there was no way the Lakers are gonna lose me and Shaq in the same year.’

O’Neal went to Miami where he won a championship two seasons later with Dwyane Wade.

Bryant stuck it out through a few rough seasons in L.A. before winning back-to-back titles in ’09 and ’10.

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