Since the time of Kobe Bryant’s passing earlier this year, there have been heartwarming stories about how good of a father he was and how he helped guide teammates through tough situations. There have been countless stories about how ruthless of a competitor he was. And we’ve heard stories about the feud between Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal.
But, this next story, which involves Isaiah Rider when he was with the LA Lakers, is really something.
Rider, who had signed with the Lakers as a free agent in 2000, served as a backup behind Kobe Bryant.
The former member of the Trail Blazers from 1996-1999, better known as the Jail Blazers era, was known for his less than stellar reputation off the court, which culminated in allegedly spitting at an employee while shouting obscenities and smashing a cellphone after missing a team flight.
So, walking into Lakers training camp, Rider had a notoriety about him.
That’s when Shaquille O’Neal tried to use that to his advantage.
When I first get to the Lakers, Shaq tells me, ‘If you and Kobe get into it, it’s 10 Gs in the locker’…
This is three days into practice… I’m like, ‘Man, come on, you playing, man.’ ‘There’s 10 G’s in one-dollar bills, if you ever get into it and you handle your business, grab that’…
I couldn’t believe it. I’m like ‘Man, these boys are crazy, bro’… But this is my thing: I would’ve been off that team so fast if I laid a hand on that man.
This all happened in the middle of the Lakers three-peat time period. Suffice to say, Rider knew what was good for him and later received a championship ring for his participation on the team, despite not being on the playoff roster.
Shaq and Kobe later patched up their differences after they both retired, and they became friends. Shaq spoke emotionally at Kobe’s Celebration of Life after he died in a tragic helicopter crash, along with his daughter Gianna and seven others.