Shaquille O'Neal explains why he had to leave the L.A. Lakers

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Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant's previous relationship is much publicised. The duo formed the deadliest big-little partnership the NBA has ever seen and dominated the league during their time together with the L.A. Lakers.

Despite their differences, when people look back on their early 2000s stranglehold over the association, the only regret most have is that they weren't together longer.

Shaq, despite winning three finals MVP awards during their three-peat, was traded to the Miami Heat - where he would win one more ring alongside Dwyane Wade - and Kobe would go back-to-back in 2009 and 10 with Pau Gasol.

Despite their dominance, the tension was clear for all to see, and speaking in an interview with Ernie Johnson ahead of his Hall of Fame induction on Friday, the Big Aristotle insisted he had to leave the Staples Center due to his vision of what a future with the Purple and Gold would bring if he stuck around.

"I didn't want to leave," he said. "But being a veteran in the business of basketball, I realised that ... there can't be two kings. And every great movie that I've seen - mafia movies, just to put it in better terms - the younger boss always takes out the older boss."

Kobe Bryant
L.A. Lakers
Pacific Division
Western Conference
Shaquille O'Neal

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