Shaq and Kobe vehemently reconcile in order to enjoy future Christmases
In the wake of the Heat's third straight Christmas Day victory over the Lakers, superstars Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant publicly stated again and again that they are in no way feuding, that they are on completely friendly terms both personally and professionally, and that future Christmas Day games highlighting their rivalry will no longer be necessary.
"I really, really like Kobe Bryant," an emphatic O'Neal reiterated multiple times at the Christmas Day postgame conference. "Our rivalry is completely over, and all that stuff he said about Phil Jackson or about me or the stuff I said about Phil Jackson or whatever, it's all gone and in the past. Can we please have Christmas off now?"
Shaq's comments prompted laughter from the crowd of reporters.
"I'm not joking," teased a comically straight-faced Shaq. "I don't know how I can say this more clearly: I am tired of playing basketball on Christmas Day."
Bryant added, "The Heat beat us again, fair and square, so I guess that settles it - there's no more need for these Christmas games. The Heat are the champions of Christmas, and Shaq has won our rivalry. In fact, they beat us so emphatically, I won't even be angry if I'm spending next Christmas at home with my family instead of traveling across the country to play a regular season basketball game."
Bryant continued, "Did I mention I love Shaq? We are so not rivals now that I would find it insulting if they schedule another Heat/Lakers game next Christmas and hype it up as a rivalry, because it's not one anymore, and it's especially not one if it's on Christmas, and also I might be hurt next Christmas so if I were the NBA I wouldn't schedule one, is all I'm saying."
The 2007-08 NBA schedule will not be released until the summer, but after these recent comments, it is believed that another Lakers/Heat Christmas Day matchup will be scheduled to reignite the Shaq/Kobe rivalry.