Are Kobe and Shaq the greatest duo of all time?

I would say for one season, yes.

The 2001 season is when both Shaq and Kobe kind of peaked and it’s very rare to have a team where two all time players are on that team and both of them peak at the same time.

I already wrote on Quora before about how I thought 2001 Kobe was the best version of Kobe – his peak athleticism, combination of offense + defense, unselfishness and played the right way. Older Kobe is not my preferred version of Kobe as he became more of a ball hog and less trusting of his teammates. 2001 Kobe averaged 29/7/6 in the playoffs on 47% shooting. Probably the best all around numbers he’s ever put up, and on decent efficiency too.

And Shaq, well nothing really needs to be said about why 2001 Shaq is really good. 2000–2002 Shaq is the most dominant force we’ve seen in basketball since 1960s Wilt.

So yes, put 2001 Shaq (one of Shaq’s peak years) with 2001 Kobe (IMO peak Kobe) and you get possibly the best peak duo ever. In the 2001 playoffs, Shaq and Kobe combined for 59 PPG, 22 RPG, 9 APG, 2 SPG, 3 BPG.

But outside of this season, I think the issue is that Shaq and Kobe wasn’t sustainable due to Shaq’s inability to condition himself well and Kobe’s ego issues. So the chemistry fell apart quite quickly. That’s where other duos like Jordan + Pippen, Magic + Kareem, West + Baylor, Malone + Stockton, Curry + KD etc would be better because they didn’t have such chemistry issues. But for one peak season… sure I’ll take Shaq + Kobe.


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