Shaquille O'Neal breaks down while paying emotional tribute to Kobe Bryant

Shaq paid tribute to Kobe on Tuesday

Shaquille O'Neal has paid a heartbreaking tribute to Kobe Bryant just days after his untimely death. 

The two NBA icons were teammates at the Los Angeles Lakers for eight years, but their bond ran far deeper than that. 

Speaking as a studio analyst for TNT on their 'Inside the NBA segment', Shaq broke down as he addressed Bryant's death alongside other legends on Tuesday night. 

"Well, as you know, the last couple of months have been really tough. I lost my little sister, I haven't been sleeping, I haven't been doing the normal things I usually do," he began.

"So the other day, I'm downstairs working out with my son Shaqir and my nephew Columbus, and my other nephew comes in crying, and he shows me his phone, and I snapped at him. I said, 'Man, get that out of my face.'

"We live in a world where anything can be photoshopped, anything can be hoaxed. I didn't want to believe it. And then I got the call from [Ernie Johnson], Charles [Barkley], Kenny [Smith] - everybody called me.

"Then we found out it was confirmed, I haven't felt a pain that sharp in a while. [I'm] 47 years old, I lost two grandmothers, I lost a sarge, lost my sister, and now I lost a little brother." 

"Our names will be attached together for what we did. People always ask about our relationship, and I tell them: 'You got two strong-minded people that are going to get it done their way, that are going to say certain things.'

Byrant and O'Neal were long-time teammates

"The respect will never be lost. When it comes to being inside the lines and winning, that's what me him did." 

You can watch O'Neal's emotional tribute in full below: 

Truly heartbreaking. Perhaps the most poignant part of Shaq's speech was the moment he shared the regret about not being able to speak to Bryant at his Hall of Fame enshrinement. 

"The fact that we're not going to be able to joke at his Hall of Fame ceremony, we're not going to be able to say, 'Hi, I've got five [NBA rings], you've got four,' the fact that we're not going to say if we'd stayed together we could have got 10, those are the things you can't get back." 

Bryant and Shaq shared an incredible bond

So many people have paid their respects to Bryant and his daughter Gianna over the last few days, but O'Neal's tribute is perhaps the hardest one to watch, given the pair's bond and their history. 

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