In a recent interview, former NBA star Isaiah Rider indicated that the well-documented one-time feud between Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant reached such a low point when O’Neal offered Rider money to fight Bryant.
Rider appeared on the podcast “All The Smoke,” co-hosted by Stephen Jackson and Matt Barnes, and indicated that O’Neal’s offer apparently came just three days into Rider’s tenure with the Lakers.
Rider declined the offer because of the likelihood that he would have quickly been released.
“When I first get to the Lakers, Shaq tells me, ‘If you and Kobe get into it, it’s 10 G’s in the locker,'” Rider said. “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.”
The alleged incident took place during the 2000-01 season, the lone year that Rider was a member of the Lakers. In 67 games of that NBA championship season, he averaged just 7.6 points, 2.3 rebounds and 1.7 assists.
Rider had been the fifth overall pick in the 1993 NBA Draft, but a troubled career saw him play with five different teams over his nine-year career.
The Lakers were the fourth of those stops, with the team choosing not to re-sign Rider in 2001. After Rider signed with the Denver Nuggets in October of that year, his NBA career ended after playing just 10 more games.
O’Neal and Bryant would help lead the Lakers to three consecutive NBA titles, but by 2004, the relationship had become so toxic that O’Neal was dealt to the Miami Heat.
Over the ensuing years, the two players managed to repair their relationship, with a heartbroken O’Neal expressing his grief after Bryant’s stunning death in January.
The concept of teammates despising each other has been in existence forever, but Rider’s tale indicates that such hatred can sometimes be taken to extremes.