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Sports World Is Heartbroken Over Shaquille O'Neal's Admission

Kobe and Shaq celebrate their Los Angeles Lakers championship.

LOS ANGELES, UNITED STATES: Kobe Bryant (L) of the Los Angeles Lakers holds the Larry O'Brian trophy as teammate Shaquille O'Neal (L) hold the MVP trophy after winning the NBA Championship against Indiana Pacers 19 June, 2000, after game six of the NBA Finals at Staples Center in Los Angeles, CA. The Lakers won the game 116-111 to take the NBA title 4-2 in the best-of-seven series. (Getty Images)

Shaquille O'Neal opened up about a major regret he has regarding his relationship with late former teammate Kobe Bryant.

O'Neal and Bryant had a complicated relationship over the years, but the big man said in this week's edition of PEOPLE Magazine that he wishes he had stayed in touch with Bryant more in the time leading up to his tragic death in January 2020. 

"You put off [getting in touch]," O'Neal told PEOPLE. "I'll never get to see Kobe again, in real life, forever. And I just should have called. He should have called. We both should have called. But he's working, I'm working, so it's 'I'll see you when I see you.' "

O'Neal's admission is particularly gut-wrenching for NBA fans, especially considering they are used to seeing him smiling and joking on television.

"Shaq depression is really, really sad," one man tweeted in response to O'Neal's quotes about Kobe.

"Nobody does this. They wait for everyone else to do it first," another added.

"Breaks my heart," said a third tweeter.

"Please. Because there's a few that come to mind that still haunt me at least once a year," another man admitted.

"Forever is a long time. That hits deep," chimed in another fan.

The basketball world understands Shaq's pain.