NBA great Shaquille O’Neal once allegedly offered Los Angeles Lakers teammate Isaiah “J.R.” Rider $10,000 to fight Kobe Bryant – just days after the guard joined the team.
Rider, 49, dropped the bombshell during the “All The Smoke” podcast with Stephen Jackson and Matt Barnes last week, telling the pair how O’Neal approached him with a proposal should he and Bryant “get into it” physically just after arriving in Los Angeles in 2000.
“So when I first get to the Lakers, Shaq tells me, ‘If you and Kobe get into it, it’s 10Gs in the locker,’” Rider told the amused hosts. “This is three days into practice. I’m like, ‘Man, come on, you playing, man.’”
But O’Neal was serious, Rider said, claiming the center’s apparent ire toward Bryant was real enough to offer him $10,000 in dollar bills.
“There’s 10Gs in one dollar bills, man, if you ever get into it and handle your business, grab that,” Rider recalled O’Neal telling him. “I couldn’t believe it. I’m like, man, these boys is crazy, bro.”
The alleged offer, however, was a non-starter, Rider said.
“But this is my thing: I would’ve been off the team so fast if I laid a hand on that man,” Rider said. “That’s the great one.”
Rider, who played nine NBA seasons before retiring in 2002, signed with the Lakers as a free agent in 2000.
O’Neal and Bryant feuded near the end of their time together with Lakers, but in the years since they split had become close friends.
Bryant, 41, and his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, died in a helicopter crash in January along with seven other people. O’Neal, 48, who won three consecutive NBA championships with Bryant while they played in Los Angeles from 1996 through 2004, was among several speakers at Bryant’s public memorial service at the Staples Center in February.
Source: Page Six