Jackson: Shaq ‘Clown Role’ Caused Rift

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In a panel at the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference, (Phil) Jackson shed some light on their work ethics.

“Shaq (O’neal) didn’t work at it,” Jackson said. “Michael (Jordan) was able to succeed despite all kinds of limitations in his game. He couldn’t hit an outside shot. He couldn’t defend. But all of that went away because of his work ethic. Kobe (Bryant) saw that as a pinnacle that he had to reach, and he took it to a whole new level.”

After winning three straight titles with the Los Angeles Lakers from 2000 to 2002, O’Neal and Bryant had a famous falling out, and Jackson pointed to their personalities as a cause.

“Shaq had a clown role he had to play,” he said. “So that was part of the rift.”

via Sean Highkin of For The Win