Obviously a ton has been made over the last few years about the Shaq and Kobe… let’s call it a disagreement. The media hype about it died down over the last few months as Kobe Byrant elevated himself to the position of the best player in the NBA (recently overtaken by Mr. LeBron James) and Shaq was just trying to hold onto some of the limelight.
But with Shaq having a productive season and the Lakers positioned at the top of the Western conference, attention has been brought back to the “disagreement.” ABC even promoted the Suns / Lakers game Sunday afternoon as a “showdown” between Shaq and Kobe.
The worst part about the drama between the two is how it all was completely overblown by the media, and then systematically shoved down our throats. To be honest, I don’t even think they hated each other as much as we were lead to believe. Sometimes people who work together don’t get along. Some people’s personalities don’t align (although I doubt many people’s personalities align with Kobe’s). And sometimes some players don’t play well together.
It’s as simple as that. Kobe and Shaq didn’t have the personalities to be best friends. And both of them wanted to be the top dog. But because they played for the Lakers and had the huge L.A. media market and played for Phil Jackson, a coach famous for allowing huge egos to co-exisst, we were subjected to report after report about how they hated each other and didn’t get along.
But the NBA knew they had something when Shaq left L.A. and Kobe took over the Lakers. They could exploit this “feud” for marketing and advertising purposes. And exploit it they did.
Although I do think Shaq took advantage of it too when it became apparent that Kobe Bryant had become the better player of the too and it appeared that Shaq’s career was winding down. That’s how we get videos like this:
The NBA then exploited the Kobe-Shaq hugfest at All-Star weekend when they played on the same team for the first time in almost five years. Watch the video of Shaq and Kobe hold up the All-Star MVP trophy, there’s no way those smiles are real. With two guys that competitive, I can’t believe they honestly were that happy to share the award.
With the economy on the fritz and the NBA struggling, marketing and advertising dollars will be more important than ever. Hopefully we won’t have to deal with more media manufactured (yay alliteration!) fueds from the NBA machine.