The two superstars were feuding and Buss had to choose one Hall of Famer over another.
Buss chose Bryant, a decision that Los Angeles Times columnist Bill Plaschke acknowledges that he didn't support at first, calling it a "Shaqtacular mistake." But in a Friday column, Plaschke argued that Buss actually made the right call.
As Plaschke wrote. "Less than a month after Buss' death, his memory is most alive every night through a scarred veteran whose 17th season might be his most impactful yet.
"Buss picked Bryant as if he knew that not only would he win two more championships with some of his best teams, but that he would shoulder the Lakers' most disappointing team with dignity and strength through a season of uncertainty and loss.
"Bryant will not be the most valuable player. But in some ways he's never been better. He has furiously pushed the Lakers through their dysfunction and chaos while chugging his legs at a level never seen by someone burdened by so many miles."
Bryant, 34, is having a spectacular season, averaging 23.5 points, 5.4 rebounds and 5.6 assists a game.
But O'Neal may have been the most dominant center to have ever played the game, and who knows what could have happened if he had remained with the Lakers, uninhibited by the tensions and squabbles that he and Bryant suffered as teammates.
Do you agree with Plaschke, and think that Buss made the right call in keeping Bryant as the team's centerpiece, or do you think the Lakers may have experienced more success if Buss had chosen O'Neal?
Vote in the poll below and feel free to leave a comment explaining your thought process.