Viral Video Shows Shaquille O'Neal Leading 'Kobe' Chant Near Staples Center in LA

Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O'Neal
Viral video shows Shaquille O'Neal leading "Kobe" chant outside of Staples Center in LA AFP/Getty

On Tuesday night, former NBA star Shaquille O'Neal was seen in a viral video outside of the Staples Center in Los Angeles, where he told fans to be quiet so he could start a "Kobe" chant following the tragic death of Kobe Bryant, a 20-year Los Angeles Lakers legend.

.@SHAQ leading "Kobe" chants near Staples Center.

(via omerdrinks/Instagram)

— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) January 29, 2020

Bryant, 41, was killed in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California on Sunday. Bryant was accompanied by his 13-year old daughter Gianna Bryant and seven other people, including the pilot, who all died in the crash. Authorities have identified the others on board the helicopter as two of Gianna's basketball teammates, Alyssa Altobelli and Payton Chester, Altobelli's mother and father; Keri and John, Chester's mother Sarah, the team's assistant coach Christina Mauser and the pilot Ara Zobayan.

The video of O'Neal comes just after NBA on TNT paid an hour-long tribute to the late Bryant. The special took place at the Staples Center after the NBA decided to postpone the game between the Lakers and the Los Angeles Clippers.

The hour-long tribute was hosted by Inside the NBA host Ernie Johnson, who was accompanied by a number of former NBA players including O'Neal, Dwayne Wade, Charles Barkley, Kenny Smith and Jerry West, as well as a number of other former teammates of Bryant. All involved shared different stories and memories of the former Laker guard during the show.

O'Neal and Bryant played together for the Lakers from 1996 to 2004 and were able to win three consecutive NBA championships but it was widely known that they were not the best of friends. Despite their differences as players, O'Neal expressed his love for Bryant and stated that his tragic death "definitely changes" him.

"I haven't felt a pain that sharp in a while," O'Neal said. "The fact that we're not gonna be able to joke at his Hall of Fame ceremony, we're not gonna be able to say 'haha I got five you got four.' The fact that we're not gonna be able to say if we would have stayed together, we could have got 10 [NBA championships]. Those are things you can't get back."

“I haven’t felt a pain that sharp in a while.. it definitely changes me.”’@SHAQ on the loss of his brother, Kobe.

— NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) January 29, 2020

While the fans who followed O'Neal in his "Kobe" chant were outside the Lakers arena on Tuesday night, this is not the first time they have been there to honor Bryant.

Immediately after the news broke of Bryant's death, fans flocked to the Staples Center to bring flowers, signs and other tributes to the Laker legend. They have continued to show their support outside of the arena for the past three days, chanting his name and playing music.

Kobe’s name echoing outside Staples Center

— Dave McMenamin (@mcten) January 28, 2020

A tuba player and drummer just showed up at the memorial here outside Staples Center !

— Ramona Shelburne (@ramonashelburne) January 29, 2020

Some fans even brought a small bucket and stood around it, shooting paper balls as they yelled "Kobe." "Best thing I saw at the Staples Center today #SayKobe #MambaForever," Twitter user Renzi wrote with the video of fans shooting the paper balls.

best thing i saw at the staples center today #SayKobe #MambaForever

— renzi (@renzirodriguez) January 28, 2020

During Bryant's 20-year career, he compiled numerous accolades including five NBA championships, two NBA Finals MVPs, one regular season MVP, 18 All-Star selections, two NBA scoring championships and two Olympic Gold medals. He is also ranked fourth all-time in NBA history for most points scored with 33,643.

In addition to his basketball accolades, Bryant is also a published author and won an Oscar for his short film titled Dear Basketball.

Uncommon Knowledge

Newsweek is committed to challenging conventional wisdom and finding connections in the search for common ground.

Newsweek is committed to challenging conventional wisdom and finding connections in the search for common ground.

About the writer

Matthew Impelli is a Newsweek staff writer based in New York. His focus is reporting social issues and crime. In January 2023, Matthew traveled to Moscow, Idaho where he reported on the quadruple murders and arrest of Bryan Kohberger. Matthew joined Newsweek in 2019 after graduating from Syracuse University. He also received his master's degree from St. John's University in 2021. You can get in touch with Matthew by emailing Languages: English.

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