Chris Webber wanted to form a superteam with Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant on the Los Angeles Lakers in 2008. The Lakers were in need of an upgrade at the time, but O’Neal was hesitant to join the team because he didn’t want to play for another player’s team.
Shaquille O’Neal retired from the NBA in 2011. Chris Webber, who was drafted by the Philadelphia 76ers, wanted to form a superteam with Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant on the Los Angeles Lakers. Read more in detail here: when did shaq retire.
One of the greatest teams never to win an NBA championship is the Sacramento Kings of the early 2000s. From 2001 through 2004, the Kings, led by Hall of Famer Chris Webber, won 55 or more games, including a trip to the Western Conference Finals in 2002. Their tenure, however, coincided with the dynasty of the Los Angeles Lakers, as Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant prevented Sacramento from achieving their full potential.
The first thing on Webber’s mind when he arrived in Sacramento was not to beat the Lakers. Instead, he intended to join them in Los Angeles and create a new superteam.
The Los Angeles Lakers were a thorn in the Sacramento Kings’ side.
Sacramento Kings’ Chris Webber #4 takes on the Los Angeles Lakers in the first round of the NBA Western Conference Playoffs. It was the first of three elimination defeats for LA in the following three years. | Photo courtesy of Tom Hauck/Getty Images
When C-Webb came in town in 1998, he wasn’t the only newcomer. Jason Williams, the seventh overall selection, Peja Stojakovic, 21, and veteran center Vlade Divac were all in their debut seasons with Sacramento. In a lockout-shortened season, the core connected right away, going 27-23. They led the Kings to their first playoff series win since 1981 two years later.
The first meeting with the Lakers in the playoffs was in 1999-00. The 8-seed Kings rallied from a 2-0 hole to force a fifth and final game in their first-round series. However, LA came through with a 113-86 victory, sending the Kings home with their first of three straight rings.
Sacramento improved considerably more the next season. Sacramento finished 55-27, enough for the third seed in the Western Conference, when veteran Doug Christie joined the club. However, the Kings were swept by the Los Angeles Lakers in the second round of the playoffs.
The Kings were meant to triumph in 2001-02. Sacramento ended with a 61-21 record after dealing Williams for Mike Bibby, winning the top seed in the West. The squad breezed through the first two rounds of the playoffs before facing Shaquille O’Neal, Kobe Bryant, and the Lakers in the conference finals. For the Kings, it was a heartbreaking series. Robert Horry sank a game-winning three for LA to tie the series at two. LA was seconds away from taking a 3-1 series lead. Sacramento then went on to lose the last two games, including Game 7 at home, after winning Game 5.
Instead, Chris Webber aspired to be a member of the Los Angeles Lakers.
Webber aspired to play in Los Angeles before spending seven and a half seasons in Sacramento. In fact, after being moved from the Washington Wizards, C-Webb assumed that LA would be his next stop.
Webber said, “I believed there would be a deal for Elden Campbell, Eddie Jones, and Nick Van Exel for me.” “I had hoped to visit there.”
Webber was dealing with the disappointment of not playing for the Lakers but for the Kings. It took a lot to persuade the big guy to put his emotions aside and join a squad that hasn’t won a game since 1985 (h/t The Athletic).
“It took a lot of effort to persuade Webber to accept the fact that he wasn’t a Laker. There were discussions with Geoff Petrie, the general manager, and Rick Adelman, the coach, assuring him that he was welcome and needed in Sacramento. The conversation with Adelman was very important. The message was plain, according to Webber: “We know you wanted to join the Lakers, but we want you, we need you, and we’re going to win with you.”
The Athletic’s Jason Jones
Webber, of course, invested in Sacramento and gave the team a much-needed boost. Even if his greatest years were cut short by the team he wanted to play for in the first place.
Webber looks back on his time in Sacramento with fondness.
Webber may not have been able to create the Hall of Fame trio he desired with O’Neal and Bryant. The five-time All-Star, on the other hand, has no regrets about becoming a Kings legend instead.
Webber remarked, “I thank God for my time there.” “I know championship-winning players who dislike the teammates they played with. We can discuss a variety of topics, but I’m not sure they would equate that in their daily life. I know how I’ll remember my time in Sacramento: I didn’t win a championship, I didn’t accomplish my objective, and that’s difficult. But apart from that, I couldn’t have asked for more.”
C-finest Webb’s years as an individual were also spent in Sacramento. He scored 23.5 points per game and was named to five NBA All-Star teams during his almost eight years with the club. His number four was ultimately retired as well.
Taking a backseat to Shaq and Kobe is unlikely to have resulted in the same level of individual achievement. Webber, on the other hand, will never be able to get his hands on the ring. That would not have been the case if he had achieved his desire to play for the Lakers.
Basketball Reference provided all statistics.
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