“Dwight doesn’t like L.A.!” and “Kobe scared Dwight away!” are just a few of the headlines that we saw. Howard knows that his reputation was hurt during that time – and a lot of it was due to things he didn’t even say – so he kept quiet and reserved.
He’s now back to his old self though, joking with teammates, coaches, reporters and fans. In an interview with Sports Illustrated, Howard also quashed the rumors that Kobe offended Dwight in a phone call last year, when Bryant apparently said D12 could by the Lakers’ “Tyson Chandler”.
In fact, it seems the two stars have had secret correspondence for a few years now:
“What people don’t know is that this is one of the guys who I’ve been talking to for about four years now,” Howard said. “And he has been an amazing help to me, just pushing me in ways — secretly because we played in the Eastern and Western Conference. But it’s been him just talking to me, showing me how to do certain things with my team and things like that.”
The goal, of course, is for Howard to be the best Howard he can be. Happy, healthy and — perhaps one day — a Hall of Famer.
“I told [Bryant] as soon as I got here, ‘Hey, I want to be one of the greatest to ever play. I want you to push me every day,’ ” Howard said. “And he was like, ‘I’m going to push you, because I see something in you, and I want to make sure that I do my part.’ And I promised him that I’m going to do whatever I can do.”
Kobe and Dwight seem to be forging quite a strong relationship on the court and some of that may be due to their familiarity with each other. Who knows what they talked about in those phone calls over the past four years, but you’ve got to think a lot of it was to do with leadership and winning.
Kobe respects others who also strive to be great like him; I guess he can understand them. Howard? He wants to be great. He’s one of the hardest workers in the league – just look at the physical condition he’s in right now – and Kobe is obviously known for his extra work, too. “Game recognize game” as they say.
And now they both hate Shaq too?
Despite their extremely different personalities, it sounds like the two of them have quite a lot in common after all.