Did Dwight Howard really ever have beef with Kobe Bryant, his former Lakers teammate, behind the scenes?
Many NBA fans and critics will undoubtedly remember that Dwight Howard spent time wearing a Lakers jersey, playing alongside NBA legend — and recent retiree — Kobe Bryant during the 2012-13 season. The Bryant-Howard combination was obviously not able to create the same winning streak or championship record as the Kobe-Shaq collaboration from an earlier chapter of Kobe’s NBA career, a grim reality that disappointed numerous fans who were hopeful of Kobe being able to add to his collection of championship rings during the final chapter of his impressive career.
According to Basketball Reference, the Los Angeles Lakers finished in third place in the NBA Pacific Division, ending the season with a record of 45-37. Fans were still somewhat hopeful as Kobe Bryant and Dwight Howard worked together to at least get the Lakers into the playoffs. However, their balloon of hope and enthusiasm over their team’s chances was destroyed after they were swept away by the San Antonio Spurs in the first round.
In addition to the headlines that the Bryant-Howard duo made for the team’s overall performance throughout the year they spent together on the same NBA roster, they apparently had a separate collection of headlines made for their off-court tension, conflicts, and “beef” behind the scenes as well. However, according to Dwight Howard, the off-court interactions between the 31-year-old Charlotte Hornets center and the 38-year-old future NBA Hall of Famer may not have been as tense as everyone thought.
Responding to a tweet inquiring about the infamous Bryant-Howard beef, Dwight claimed that the beef between the two NBA stars never existed.
we didn’t beef. Since we were losing they needed a story that would sell
— Dwight Howard (@DwightHoward) July 16, 2017
Dwight Howard’s claim clearly goes against the vast number of reports published during their season together that stated otherwise. For instance, in a January, 2013, article published by the Orange County Register, Kevin Ding reported that Howard’s mockery of Bryant behind the scenes allegedly occurred behind Bryant’s back. According to the report, Dwight would mock Kobe’s shooting statistics even though the five-time NBA champion was experiencing a career-high level of impressive shooting. The report further stated that Howard’s comments would leave his fellow Lakers teammates “feeling awfully uncomfortable.”
— Zesty NBA LA Lakers (@zesty_lakers) July 17, 2017
— NBA World (@NBAWorldNewz) July 16, 2017
Conversely, Kobe Bryant apparently tried to counterattack the alleged mockery and tension between he and Howard with kindness and commendation. He reportedly tried to connect with Dwight Howard and support his failures at the free throw line by focusing on his first-class potential instead of his poor performance.
When you weigh the value of Kobe Bryant’s career against Dwight Howard’s career, though, the numbers seem to speak for themselves. In addition to the fact that Bryant spent his entire career wearing a Lakers jersey and Howard has bounced between five teams in 13 years, the average fan or critic can easily decide which NBA star wins by looking at their list of accomplishments, achievements, accolades, and records.
[Featured Image by Harry How/Getty Images]