Before Dwight Howard was ultimately traded to the Los Angeles Lakers back in August, the “Dwightmare” had been going on for quite some time with the superstar center attempting to persuade the Orlando Magic to make a deal with the Brooklyn Nets.
Rumors of the Lakers pursuing Howard had circulated around the league for quite some time with the team showing considerable interest in making the blockbuster trade to acquire the future face of the franchise. Unfortunately, a few problems stood in the way of making the deal as Howard was supposedly rubbed the wrong way by Kobe Bryant and didn’t want to follow Shaquille O’Neal’s footsteps to Los Angeles from Orlando.
In an interesting turn of events, Howard claims that Kobe has been mentoring him for years according to Sam Amick of SI.com:
When it comes to Bryant, Howard also sets himself apart from O’Neal. The current Lakers center — who was known to have reservations about being overshadowed by Bryant before joining him — said their foundation is far more solid than most people realize.
“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.”
Publicly, there appears to be no tension between Kobe and Howard. The two superstars are civil and friendly with seemingly nothing but respect and admiration for one another. Of course, the relationship between Kobe and Shaq appeared that way for years during their run at three consecutive NBA titles and we all know how that ended.
The fact that Kobe has reached out to Howard in the past is definitely a good sign for both players moving forward. Even though the five-time NBA champion claims that he’ll only be around for two more years and will likely retire at the end of his contract with the Lakers, a good relationship between the two is extremely important for the team in their attempts to win one or two championships over the next two seasons.