Shaquille O’Neal reveals the deaths of Kobe Bryant and his younger sister still haunt him as he ‘couldn’t sleep’… leaving him up until 5:00 a.m. every night
Shaquille O’Neal admits he doesn’t get much shut-eye these days, two and three years respectively since the death of his younger sister and former teammate Kobe Bryant.
Appearing in a recent HBO documentary about his life, titled ‘SHAQ’, the 50-year-old former Los Angeles Laker revealed that the death of his fatal sister, Ayesha Harrison-Jex, from of cancer at age 40 in 2019 and Bryant’s sudden death in a helicopter crash in downtown LA in 2020 still haunts him to this day.
‘I don’t sleep until 5:00am… Ever since Kobe [Bryant] and my brother died I can’t sleep,’ he said.
Shaquille O’Neal revealed that the deaths of his sister and Kobe Bryant keep him up at night
O’Neal made the claims in a recent HBO documentary about his life, titled ‘SHAQ’
O’Neal and Bryant won three back-to-back NBA championships together, known as the Lakers’ ‘Three Peat’, between 2000 and 2002.
However, there were persistent rumors of one of the league’s most dominant duos ever arguing before and after games, prompting O’Neal to join the Miami Heat in 2004.
Contrary to what many NBA fans thought was the end of a tumultuous relationship between the ‘Black Mamba’ and ‘Shaq,’ the pair developed mutual respect long after playing together in Los Angeles.
When Bryant dropped 60 points in his final NBA game against the Utah Jazz in April 2016, Shaq sat courtside to witness the shooting guard’s magic one last time.
Bryant (left) holding the Larry O’Brian trophy and O’Neal with the Finals MVP trophy in 2000
O’Neal watched Bryant drop 60 points against the Utah Jazz in his final NBA game in 2016
He also commonly refers to Bryant as his ‘little brother’ and considers him family, as shown in his speech at ‘Bean’s’ funeral from three years ago. O’Neal was left with regrets for not reaching him.
He is also believed to have had a close relationship with his younger sister, who had been battling cancer for three years before her death, according to TNT’s ‘Inside the NBA’ host Ernie Johnson.
‘Trying to put into words the way Shaquille has reacted to this and he’s struggling and when he struggles, we struggle with it,’ he said live on air in front of the show’s other commentators, NBA legends Kenny ‘The Jet’ Smith and Charles Barkley.
‘Cause he’s one of our brothers and we feel for him tonight. Hearts are broken for Shaq’s family and our families too.’
NBA commissioner Adam Silver was also on the broadcast and sent his condolences to the O’Neal family at the time.
‘From everyone in the league, but obviously from me personally, my condolences to Shaq and I know for all of you, you’re hurting because you’re all so close to each other.’
O’Neal was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2016. He won four NBA rings and was a three-time NBA Finals MVP. The 50-year-old also recently revealed his 40-pound weight loss and his goal of starring in an underwear ad with his sons Shareef, Shaqir and Myles.