Shaquille O’Neal, current NBA insider and former Lakers teammate of Kobe Bryant, says Bryant will be making a comeback to the NBA to join forces with newest Lakers, LeBron James.
The claim was made to TMZ, as O’Neal initially was adamant of his own retirement. He was approached at an L.A. charity basketball game, when O’Neal was asked if he’d consider returning to the court at age 46 to team up with LeBron James now that No. 23 is with the Lakers. After an emphatic “no, I’m done,” he turned to the camera with this:
“Kobe coming back, I heard. Kobe coming back, I heard he was. You heard it here first.”
There is no word yet however, on whether or not O’Neal was just adding fuel to the rumors, or if he genuinely had an inside scoop. It would be no surprise either way, as Shaq has been known to fuel and even begin NBA-related trade and free agent rumors in an always joking manner.
Kobe Bryant, who played with O’Neal from 1996-2004, may still be regarded as the king of L.A, but he’s 39, and would be 40 at the start of the upcoming season. Bryant also hasn’t played in the NBA since retiring in 2016 and dealt with several injuries towards the end of his career. Playing in just 107 total games over his final three seasons is not promising, and it’s not as if he isn’t enjoying his post-basketball dive into the Hollywood Entertainment Scene.
Kobe was last seen playing basketball just days ago as he worked with Celtics guard Jayson Tatum in helping him improve his game.