Wednesday 17th July 2019,

If Kobe Bryant Were All-Star Captain, He’d Pick LeBron James Over Shaquille O’Neal

If Kobe Bryant Were All-Star Captain, He’d Pick LeBron James Over Shaquille O’Neal

kobe bryant

Here’s to incandescent hypotheticals!

Kobe Bryant never got the chance to partake in the NBA’s new All-Star Game format, which includes captains who build their team from a pool of 22 players, almost entirely irrespective of conference affiliation. It was only introduced this season, his second in retirement. But could you imagine if he were in his prime and had the opportunity, as one of the two captains, to assemble his own team? That would be something.

Since we’ll never see such a spectacle in our lifetimes, ESPN’s Jemele’s Hill asked Kobe the question we’re obviously all dying to know the answer to: If tasked with choosing between LeBron James and Shaquille O’Neal, who would he select?

His response was predictably Kobe-ish (h/t Bleacher Report’s Alec Nathan):

“What year are we talking Shaq? … The Miami Heat first year? No, I’ll take LeBron James,” Bryant said. “You kidding me? If I had the opportunity [to draft Shaq at all], yeah I would. But LB man.”

If you listen closely, you can actually hear the sound of all the reparations Kobe and Shaq have made to their relationship shatter in the background.
Okay, you got me: You can’t. This is an innocent hypothetical that we have no way of actually testing out. Who knows, maybe Kobe would have a change of heart if put in the situation. Workplace politics didn’t just not apply to him. Just how Stephen Curry drafted Draymond Green and Klay Thompson, and just as LeBron drafted the since-injured Kevin Love, perhaps Kobe would have picked the Los Angeles Lakers version of Shaq.
Too bad we’ll never get to find out. So we’ll take Kobe at his word instead: Shaq was a terrible basketball player and LeBron James is 50 times better than Michael Jordan and Kobe ever were*.
*Please note these are not even close to Kobe’s words.

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