Kobe and Shaq: Revisiting the 2004 NBA Finals

08/29/2019

The year is 2004 and the New England Patriots are Super Bowl champions (no shock there), a rookie LeBron James is about to finish his debut season and Kevin Garnett is the NBA MVP. Usher is the biggest artist in the country with the top 2 songs in the Billboard 100, Toby Maguire is still running around in the Spiderman costume and Shrek 2 is the biggest movie in the world. The international basketball world is about to slip into chaos with the heavily favored U.S. team losing in the semifinals of the summer Olympics. But a few months before that, in the June of 2004, something even more consequential was about to happen. A Laker team that featured 4 future hall-of-famers was about to lose to a Detroit team without any stars and one of the greatest duos in NBA history was about to split up.

As we've detailed in the past, not only did the Pistons take down the three time champions, they did so in just 5 games winning all but one game by at least double digits. During this series that were plenty of rumors that swirled around mostly concerning the damaged relationship between all-time greats Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant. Which begs the question what happened in those five games?

Shaquille O'Neal upped his performance with 27 points and 11 rebounds a game on 63 percent shooting . . . Kobe on the other hand had 23 points and 4 assists a game on 38 percent shooting. Kobe was not shooting well yet he took more shots than Shaq during the series. Why exactly did this happen? 

A Laker player during that series came out and said Kobe was playing for his finals MVP at the expense of the team. "His" meaning despite three rings at the time, Kobe had never been named a finals MVP and the young star desperately wanted the validation that came with the recognition. At the end of the day, the Lakers lost the series and Kobe and Shaq split up which opened the door for debate on how successful the two could have been if they stayed together. 


Latest posts in our blog

Read what's new this week
 

The NFL Draft came and went, and it will forever go down as the draft of the quarterback. It marks only the fourth time in NFL history in which at least five quarterbacks were chosen in the first round. It's the first time in 22 years that the first three picks were all quarterbacks, and the eight quarterbacks selected in...

For the second time in the 21st century, it's exciting to be a New York Knicks fan. Currently occupying the 4th seed in the Eastern Conference, the Knicks have greatly exceeded expectations this year on the back of a stellar defense. Furthermore, the Knicks have gotten a career year out of star power forward Julius Randle, whose season averages of...

The last 24 hours in football have been a whirlwind of outcry, complaints, memes, jokes, vibes, and protests about the state of the sport in the aftermath of the announcement of the European Super League. Unfortunately, at the root of this movement is a whole lot of misinformation that make the league seem far worse than it actually is.