They were their own worst enemy. After winning their first title together in 2000, Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant spent much of the following season arguing over another title: The Man. Reigning MVP O’Neal remained his dominant self, bounding over and barreling through everything in his path, but Bryant wasn’t to be overlooked. Many were unsure who the better player actually was and more were uncertain who the victor would be, but two things were quite clear; these were the league’s two best players and only they could end this feud.
The two would trade barbs all season and barely hang on to their Pacific Division title with 56 wins before finding common ground where it mattered: The playoffs. In the greatest post season run of all time, Shaq & Kobe took turns embarrassing the Western Conference as they swept through the playoffs with a perfect 11-0 record before winning their second championship in a 4-1 series win over the Philadelphia 76ers. As for that other title, they finally found one they could agree on: Best frenemies forever.