In a way, Dwight Howard tied together two eras in the Los Angeles Lakers’ history, playing for the Purple and Gold alongside Kobe Bryant as well as LeBron James.
Howard’s first stint in L.A. ended in 2013 as he left in free agency after just one year with the team, following a disappointing campaign and squabbles with Bryant. In 2019, the three-time Defensive Player of the Year re-joined the Purple and Gold, teaming up with James just a year into his reign in L.A.
Having shared the court with both Lakers icons, Kevin Hart asked Howard about the differences between Bryant and James in the big man’s appearance on LOL Network’s “Cold as Balls” show with Kevin Hart. And Howard described how the two NBA greats approached games to explain what set them apart:
They’re totally different as far as their personalities. Kobe was more straightforward. You know, he was always locked in. Just quiet. And LeBron, he has his music blasting. He’s walking around, lifting before the game. You just see two different types of players — but when it comes to the work, they are not strangers to the work. But that’s what set them apart.
Howard had a chance to get to know James a little better than Bryant as, after winning the NBA championship with the Lakers in 2020, he returned for a third stint with the Purple and Gold a season later.
Since then, the eight-time All-Star has been out of the league, eventually signing with Taiwanese side Taoyuan Leopards. Howard put on a show in his debut for Taoyuan on Nov. 19, registering 38 points, 25 rebounds, nine assists and four blocks.
Howard considered retirement after going unsigned in NBA this year
After the 2021-22 season ended, Howard said he would like to return to L.A. for another year. That didn’t happen with the Lakers signing younger centers over the summer, bringing in Damian Jones and Thomas Bryant.
Howard recently opened up on the challenges of going unsigned in the offseason, saying he thought about quitting basketball for good before landing in Taiwan.
“I wanna play, but at the same time, it’s like no teams that really wanna allow me to play,” he said. “That’s how I’ve been feeling from the last situation with the Lakers. I felt like I did enough to help them win a championship to really deserve a spot on the team and a chance to start and get big minutes and it didn’t happen.
“So after that I was like, ‘Man, I don’t wanna have to bust my ass for another whole summer, train three-a-days, go on a crazy diet, do all this shit and then get back to a team and sit on the bench when I can really help somebody win and still play.’ Like I ain’t lost a beat. It’s just that I sit on the bench. So people don’t see that.
“Teams don’t see that and it’s been like, ‘Damn, do I wanna just call it quits and do some other stuff or go back at it and show people I still got?’”
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