Kobe Bryant is one Player that the NBA world will remember forever. The late NBA superstar has been someone people have looked up to and the reason why a generation of people fell in love with the sport.
With greatness, came feuds with players and teammates. Kobe Bryant had a love-hate brotherhood with Shaquille O’Neal but he also locked horns with another Laker’s teammate, Dwight Howard. The duo played on the Lakers together for one season, 2012-13.
Kobe Bryant Is Impressed By Dwight Howard
Kobe Bryant first spotted Dwight at the D12’s athletic prowess. The team represented the United States in the 2008 Olympics. Kobe and Howard never spoke to each other till the day of the game. Kobe was impressed with the 6ft 10 inch Centre and Howard was in awe.
Howard was drafted by the Magic in his rookie year and they reached the NBA finals in 2009. The Magic were up against the Lakers. Mamba got another look at Howard’s skills and saw a spark in the Centre.
The Lakers management and Kobe saw that Howard would be a great addition to the Lakers squad. The pairing of Kobe and Howard would be unstoppable and fans thought the same as well. Lakers signed Howard in 2012.
Kobe Bryant And Howard: The Dream Duo?
Dwight Howard, Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash, the Lakers looked unstoppable. They were favourites to win as well. The fans had expectations for the dream pairing of Kobe and Dwight. However, the 2012-13 season was a nightmare. The Lakers had a record of 17-24. Steve Nash had an injury and was unavailable for many matches.
Dwight Howard was not performing at his best. Kobe had to take the offence into his hand. However, the news came out as Bryant was being selfish. The truth was Dwight was recovering from back surgery and Kobe said that Howard had no issues with how the plays we’re going Kobe triggered Dwight by trying to force him to play better through the pain and Howard fired shots back. He said that he was not a doctor and nor was Kobe.
Even though Mamba and Howard performed well individually, they let down the expectations of the Lakers fans. They were not the magic duo the fans thought they would be.
The Lakers were swept by the Spurs that season in round 1. Howard entered free agency and decided he could not be on the same team as Bryant. Howard Signed with Houston.
Kobe Bryant And Dwight Howard Lock Horns On Court
Opening Game of the 2013-14 season, the Los Angeles Lakers were going up against the Houston Rockets. This was the first time Bryant and Howard were locking horns after their Feud had reached its peak.
The two of them were seen fighting each other for the rebound. Howard was seen swinging his elbows in reaction to Bryant trying to grab the ball. They also had words for each other and Kobe called Howard soft. This was an incident that triggered Howard to detest Bryant for years.
Kobe And Dwight Howard Clear the Air
In 2016, Kobe Bryant retired from the NBA. He played his final game for the Lakers and he exited the NBA in style with 61 points.
Post his retirement, Kobe Bryant spoke about the relationship with Howard and said that he did not hate the guy but only wanted to bring out his full potential.
When he saw the reality of it, it made him uncomfortable. And it’s very tough to be able to fight through that, to deal with that challenge. And I don’t think he was willing to deal with that uncomfortable and combative nature.
Dwight Howard also responded with immense respect for Mamba and made it clear that there was no hatred between the two of them.
Once I left the team, we got into it. And the word is we hate each other. Kobe and Dwight is going back and forth. I’m like, ‘Man, it’s not even like that. I was upset about basketball, but I don’t hate this man.
Dwight Howard Pays Tribute To 24
The death of Bryant affected the entire NBA. Many players and fans paid their respects to the Mamba and his daughter Gianna Bryant who lost their lives in a helicopter crash in 2020.
Dwight Howard paid a beautiful tribute to Kobe during the Slam Dunk Contest in 2020. The number 24 was one of the superman logo on Howard’s chest.