For years, Shaquille O’Neal has told the story of how he never heard from Kareem Abdul-Jabbar while he was on the Lakers, something that motivated Shaq in his time in L.A. to prove to Kareem he was one of the greats.
That disconnect between two of the best centers ever has apparently weighed on Kareem’s mind for some time, and on Tuesday night he wanted to publicly make some amends with Shaq and did so in a touching moment on TNT’s postgame show. Abdul-Jabbar joined the Tuesday night TNT desk to discuss LeBron James passing him as the NBA’s all-time leading scorer, but took time at the end to make sure Shaq knew that he never had a problem with him and that he wanted Shaq to know that he loved him and appreciated his game and how he dominated.
It’s about as vulnerable a moment as you’ll get between two legends of the game on television, and it’s a pretty incredible thing to watch. You can tell how much it means to Shaq, who makes sure Kareem knows he doesn’t harbor any beef with the legend, but it’s clearly something that’s weighed on him for some time. For Kareem to ensure he had a chance to say this publicly to Shaq takes quite a bit, and I think for Shaq in particular, who lamented how long it took for he and Kobe to reconcile after Bryant’s passing, hearing this from someone he admired so much and never quite felt that same love back meant a lot.