If there was a knock on Kobe Bryant's illustrious career, it would be that the Mamba would monopolize the offense by shooting an excessive amount of shots. It had been rumored that this was a point of contention during Shaquille O'Neal's tenure in Los Angeles: One of Shaq's ex-teammates, Raja Bell, claimed that Diesel even developed a secret signal that he'd give his teammates when he wanted to freeze Kobe out. Shaq toys with the concept during an appearance on FS1's Fair Game with Kristine Leahy.
Shaq started off by playfully evading his connection to Raja Bell. "I don't know who that is," Shaq told Leahy. "There's three ways to manipulate the mind. What you read, what you hear, and what you see. But, a lot of the times you've got to check your sources. I'm the source. If I don't give you the information than it can't be real."
Then when Leahy tried to directly ask the question, Shaq referenced Rush Hour by telling her that she doesn't have the G-14 classification to know this answer. After playing with her a little bit, Shaq said that he doesn't remember saying that to Bell.
Bell and Shaq were foes during the 2001 Finals before eventually becoming teammates in Phoenix. During an episode of his Kanell and Bell podcast, Raja claims that Shaq taught him a signal he used to shut trigger happy players out of the offense. According to Bell, Shaq created this code to use on Kobe during his time with the Lakers.
"Shaq told me a story. We had a kid named Gordon Giricek on our Suns team…and Gordon would go in the game, and Gordon was about his buckets.… No matter what we were doing, no matter what the flow or the chemistry was, Gordon would be just, you know, shooting the ball," Bell said. "But Shaq started saying, ‘Hey, guys, this is the symbol. When I give you this, Gordon doesn’t get the ball anymore.’ And I’m like, ‘Dude, what is the background on that? Where’d you come up with that?’ And he was like, ‘When Kobe was young, he would be going in and just trying to get ’em, so the rest of us had a universal kind of code that if we looked at each other and went [gives signal] then that meant Kobe didn’t get the ball anymore."
Shaq continued to be playfully elusive during his interview with Leahy—especially when she asked about rumors claiming that he showed up to Lakers practice naked one day.
"Who is Mark Madsen?" Shaq asked when Leahy said that his former teammate confirmed to her that this took place. "Did I have shoes on? It's not naked then.... The true definition of 'naked' is nothing on. If I had shoes on then I wasn't naked."
The only time Leahy secured an answer from Shaq that wasn't laced with comedy was when she asked how many wins he thinks the Lakers will have this season. He wasn't that confident in his former team.
"Forty-five wins," Shaq said before switching his answer to 55.