The idea of Kobe trying to fight Shaq seems pretty laughable, but Kobe has never been one to back down from a challenge. So back in 1999, they got into the first of many fights with Kobe going toe-to-toe with one of the biggest players in NBA history.
"In '99, two things happened," he said, "I think Shaq realized that this kid is really competitive and he's a little crazy. And then, I realized that I probably had a couple screws loose because we got into a fistfight and I actually was willing to get into a fistfight with this man. I went home and I was like, 'I got to be the dumbest or the most courageous kid on the face of the earth.'"
Shaq said that he respected Kobe more for standing up to him—"That just showed me that this kid ain't gonna back down," he said, after noting that they got into fights "all the time"—and the way Kobe saw things, there was no downside to him trying to fight Shaq.
"He was either going to beat the shit out of me or I was gonna get a couple good ones in," he said. "And I was comfortable with either one."