"I haven't felt a pain that sharp in a while," Shaquille O'Neal said as he began reflecting on Kobe Bryant's tragic passing in TNT's tribute at the Staples Center where he was joined by Dwyane Wade, Charles Barkley, Kenny Smith, Ernie Johnson, Reggie Miller and Jerry West.
"Our names will be attached together for what we did. People always asked about our relationship and I tell them it's just like me and Charles (Barkley). You have two strong-minded people that can only get it done that way. You gonna say certain things. The respect will never be lost. But when it comes to being inside the lines and winning, that's what me and (Kobe) did."
O'Neal and Bryant were very close, and Shaq considered this loss like the loss of a "little brother."
The all-time great duo played eight seasons together on the Los Angeles Lakers, achieving three NBA championships in the purple and gold as two of the most dominant players in the entire NBA.
O'Neal's speech on TNT's Kobe Bryant tribute edition of Inside the NBA was heartfelt, gut-wrenching, touching and passionate.
He addressed many different saddening topics, including the passing of Kobe's beautiful 13-year-old daughter Gianna, and how he always had Bryant's kids refer to him as "Uncle Shaq", trying to make them laugh any time he saw them.
He talked about how Kobe had a major influence on his kids as well, and that Bryant had even just recently texted Shaq's son Shareef to see how he's doing. Just checking in on him, just as any family member would do.
O'Neal continued his speech as he fought back tears, sending a tremendous message to all viewers.
"In life, sometimes instead of holding back certain things, we should just do it. We work a lot. We take stuff for granted. I don't talk to you guys (the TNT crew) as much as I need to.
"The fact that we're not going to be able to joke at (Kobe's) Hall of Fame ceremony saying 'haha, I got five, you got four (rings). The fact that we're not going to be able to say 'if we had stayed together, we would've gotten 10 (championships).
"Those are the things that you can't get back. ... That's the only thing that I wish I could just say something to him again. The last time I talked to him, we were (at the STAPLES Center) and I told him to get 50 (points) and he got 60. That's the last time I spoke to him.
"Take the time to just call and say I love you."
You can watch the full, beautifully emotional speech below:
"I haven't felt a pain that sharp in a while.. it definitely changes me."'@SHAQ on the loss of his brother, Kobe. pic.twitter.com/dM5i0DDgGK- NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) January 29, 2020