Among the heartfelt speeches and performances that left not a dry eye in the entire Staples Center Monday afternoon, Shaquille O'Neal's emotional, yet hilarious, speech during the celebration of life service for Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna still has people laughing after he unexpectedly dropped an F-bomb. O'Neal let the expletive slip while sharing a story with the audience from his early days playing with Bryant, when he first encountered the Mamba Mentality.
"The day Kobe gained my respect, the guys were complaining, saying 'Shaq, Kobe's not passing the ball,'" O'Neal recalled. "I said: 'I'll talk to him.' I said: 'Kobe, there's no I in team.'"
"And Kobe said: 'I know, but there's a M-E in that mother–er,'" he revealed, smiling as the crowd erupted in laughter.
shaq is a legend for this. 🤣🤣🤣 pic.twitter.com/SyNrNWpMAQ— TheWarriorsTalk (@TheWarriorsTalk) February 24, 2020
The moment was one of many highlights from the service, which also featured speeches from host Jimmy Kimmel, Michael Jordan, and Bryant's wife, Vanessa Bryant.
"That MJ speech was powerful shows Kobe determination to be great but that Shaq saying there is no I in team and Kobe said there is a me in that motherf—er was epic," wrote one person.
"Shaq's speech was lovely," added somebody else. "But the best part was that he got a 'motherf***er' on live CNN. Kobe would've appreciated that."
"Greatest duo to ever play the game," tweeted another. "Thank you for that speech and jokes big man. The whole world needed it."
"Shaq just made my day with his speech," added somebody else. "'I aint no i in team but there's a M-E in that mf' lmao boy Kobe was HELL."
Later in his speech, O'Neal took on a more serious tone as he bid a final farewell to Bryant, who he called his "little brother."
"Mamba, you were taken away from us way too soon," he said. "The next chapter of your life was just beginning, but now it's time for us to continue your legacy."
"You said yourself that everything negative — pressure, challenges — is all an opportunity for me to rise. So we now take that sage advice, and we now rise from anguish and begin with the healing," he added. "Just know that we got your back, little brother."