The former NBA center and future Hall of Famer talked about his relationship with Bryant while visiting the ladies on “The View” on Tuesday (Nov. 15).
“A lot of people don’t understand is that when you’re in a leadership position, you either have to worry about the task or worry about the relationship. And me being the leader, I was just worried about the task, and the task was to win championships,” he tells Barbara Walters.
This prompted the next obvious question, which Walters jumped right in to.
“And you think he didn’t want that?” she asks.
“It was my job to get everyone to play a certain way and play at a championship level,” O’Neal says. The flip side of this point being that perhaps Bryant wasn’t interested in playing at “championship level.”
Walters offered one last follow up question on the matter before diving into other matters.
“But you’re not crazy about him even today?” she asks.
In a moment of diplomacy, O’Neal says, “I don’t dislike him. If I see him with his beautiful wife and his beautiful daughters, I’ll say ‘Hi. Hello.'” And with that he had little else to say on the matter.
While still biting, this is an improvement in O’Neal’s past public comments about Bryant. Previously O’Neal said Bryant was, “the one buying love” as it relates Bryant’s purchase of a multi-million dollar ring after admitting to ex-marital dalliances. It has long been rumored that Bryant was behind O’Neal’s trade out of L.A.