By Page 2 staff

Sometimes even a divorced couple cannot quit fighting.

Although they're now separated by three time zones, 3,000 miles and 25 games in the standings, Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant continue to snipe at each other. The verbal sparring reignited earlier this week when Shaq (hey, doesn't he have a playoff series to be worried about?) blasted Bryant in a USA Today story.

O'Neal said if he hadn't been traded from the Lakers to Miami last summer, he might have physically harmed Bryant.

2001: Kobe vs. Shaq I
Event Shaq Kobe
Sprinting 0 200
Acting 100 0
Football 100 0
Boxing 150 0
Intelligence 0 200
Gymnastics 0 150
Golf 0 200
Comedy 100 0
Weightlifting 200 0
Fashion 0 150
Totals 650 900

"The Man upstairs got me here before I blew a head vessel or before I was going to bust somebody's head open," O'Neal said. "It got to the point where you had to stop doing it the right way and then go to the wrong way, like knocking people out. I'm corporate and all that, but I'm still from Newark, N.J., when all is said and done."

O'Neal gives Bryant the full Lord Voldemort ("He Who Must Not Be Named") treatment, referring to Kobe as "the other guy" or "whatchamacallit" or "that dude." He also calls Lakers owner Jerry Buss simply "that old man," characterized Lakers management as "cowards" and says the city of Los Angeles was "real, real fake."

Page 2 has been trying to broker a detente in the Shaq-Kobe feud since 2001. We asked them to settle this like men in a 10-event decathlon four years ago. If only they'd listened to us then, perhaps the Laker dynasty would still be intact.

These sniping superstars need us now more than ever. We must spare America from more he-said, he-said material. So, we're digging back into the Page 2 archives to resurrect the decathlon and settle this once and for all.

The rules remain the same: Two men, 10 events ... and your votes determine the winner. Vote in the 10 polls at right, and we'll crown the winner Friday.


Event No. 1: 100-meter dash (200 points)
Quick for a big guy, Shaq appears to be ahead. Seems like the South Beach Diet is paying off. But the nimble Bryant has more explosive speed and doesn't tire as easily. Hey, you ever spend the day in Colorado then play a game in L.A. that night? Either way, this rivalry figures to be more competitive than Tim Montgomery vs. BALCO.




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