At the beginning of the 2012-2013 NBA season, the Los Angeles Lakers thought they had built a powerhouse. After all, they had landed both former MVP point guard Steve Nash and Dwight Howard, who was widely seen as the best center in the league.
Adding those two to stars Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol should have, at least on paper, given the Lakers a great shot to win a championship. Unfortunately, things didn’t go according to plan.
Nash was lost to injury, Howard rushed his return from offseason back surgery, Gasol suffered injuries of his own, and Bryant’s Herculean efforts to keep the team afloat took their toll when he tore his Achilles at the end of the season.
Along the way, Bryant and Howard didn’t see eye to eye, preventing the team from developing any real chemistry. Howard left as a free agent that summer, becoming a villain in the eyes of Lakers fans.
He remained that way until mending the bridge by returning this past summer to join LeBron James and Anthony Davis. In an interview with Jared Dudley on Instagram Live, Howard explained his relationship with Bryant and why the two of them struggled to get along.
Howard noted that both of them wanted to be the man and egos got in the way of forming what could have been another dominant duo for the Lakers. Later on, after leaving the team, Howard explained that he saw how Bryant was with his daughters and was amazed because he had only seen the basketball side of him.
Howard also shared that his personality is very similar to that of James, which has made for a great experience this season with the Lakers.
While Bryant and Howard may have endured turbulent times as teammates and in the ensuing seasons, retirement and years passing helped bury the hatchet. Bryant spoke fondly of Howard and had even agreed to lend an assist at the 2020 Slam Dunk Contest.
While the Lakers’ icon tragically passing away struck the franchise, city of L.A. and NBA community hard, Howard was particularly emotional. He waited several days before addressing the media for the first time and grew emotional once doing so.