Sunday was the 23rd anniversary of an iconic playoff moment, as it was on June 4, 2000 that the Lakers completed a 13-point fourth quarter comeback to beat the Blazers in Game 7 of the Western Conference Finals.
That win was punctuated by the lob from Kobe Bryant to Shaquille O’Neal that has lived on highlight reels ever since, with Shaq finishing with one hand and then pointing to stands in celebration as he ran back down the floor.
— NBA History (@NBAHistory) June 4, 2023
Shaq was once again part of NBA TV’s pregame coverage in Denver on Sunday, and Matt Winer asked him about that moment and whether it felt like it was 23 years ago. Shaq said he couldn’t believe it was that long ago, before getting a bit emotional talking about how seeing that highlight just reminds him of the loss of Kobe three years ago.
— NBA TV (@NBATV) June 4, 2023
“I’m happy that happened, but every time I see my young fella, he’s not with us anymore, kinda makes me sad,” Shaq said. “Shout out to his mom and dad, we talk all the time, his sisters. Of course it was a happy moment, but if I could trade that moment and have him sitting here with us or be able to text him and say, ‘Kob’ can you believe this happened 23 years ago?’ that would be better for me.”
Shaq doesn’t often show a lot of emotion publicly, but his sentiment is one shared by the basketball world as a whole, as every Kobe highlight and anniversary comes with the bittersweet reminder of his passing.