The newly named headliner of the 2016 Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame class revealed that it has been hard for him to watch Bryant get this memorable farewell-tour treatment in this, his 20th and final NBA season.
"I'm super jealous. I wanted a Shaq tour, man. I did. Like, I never said this, but this is killing me," O'Neal said on The Big Podcast With Shaq on Tuesday. "So, you know, I had two years in Boston. I got hurt my first year, but the second year, we were going to plan a whole Shaq tour. I'm super jealous. I wanted a Shaq tour."
He added: "But still, I wanted to just go to the city and the people see me play my last game. I did. I'm like — at first I tried to suck it up, but I can't. It's killing me."
While Bryant has played all 20 years of his NBA career with the Los Angeles Lakers, O'Neal's tenure in Purple and Gold ended after eight seasons in 2004, when he was traded to the Miami Heat, before wrapping up his career with the Celtics in 2011.
Although Shaq was well received every time he stepped foot back in L.A. after being traded, he never quite got that official farewell tour city-to-city that Bryant is getting now.
The Staples Center will definitely be rocking next Wednesday (April 13), when Kobe plays the last game of his legendary NBA career when his Lakers host the Utah Jazz.
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(Photos from left: Ezra Shaw/Getty Images, Randy Shropshire/Getty Images)
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