Los Angeles Lakers Dwight Howard hasn’t made many friends in Los Angeles since his arrival over the sumer, and now it appears that his old ones in Orlando may have turned on him, too.
According to Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times, Howard’s former teammates, Jameer Nelson and Rashard Lewis took exception to an interview the big man did with CBS2 / KCAL9 where he effectively labeled his Orlando Magic teammates as outcasts that “nobody wanted.”
Nelson, who was clearly upset by the remarks when he learned of them responded how one might think a betrayed former teammate would feel:
“At some point, when are you gonna, as a man, when are you going to take ownership and stay out of the media in a professional manner?” Nelson told the Orlando Sentinel on Wednesday. “I would be less of a man to comment on certain things that people comment on about me and my teammates. We had a great run as a group, as core guys, and he was a part of it and for him to say things about anybody in a negative manner, that’s up to him.”
Howard and Nelson came into the league together in 2004. Nelson was selected with the 20th overall pick in the first round by the Denver Nuggets before being traded to Orlando, who took Howard with the No. 1 overall selection. Rashard Lewis played with Howard for over three seasons and went to battle with him in the playoffs, reaching the NBA Finals with him in 2009.
Lewis also weighed in on the comments, pointing out that there’s plenty for Howard to be worried about in L.A.:
“It’s just strange. If anything he should be focused on playing for the Lakers and making the playoffs,” said Lewis to the Sentinel. “It’s disrespectful more than anything. We helped Dwight become the player he was. They built that team to make him the player he was. Not trying to be rude or disrespectful to Dwight, but I think sometimes you have to focus on what’s going on now, not what [happens] in the past. Very disappointing. We made a good run. Hell, look at those banners hanging in the stands. They don’t say ‘Dwight Howard’ on them.”
Both Howard and his ex-teammates deserve a little bit of the blame for making this a bigger story than it really is. Howard was responding to a question about his time in Central Florida and spoke about how his team was not met with great fanfare or often given a chance. On the other hand, his former teammates read his comments and immediately wondered why it was necessary to call them “nobody”.
It’s all just another prime example of Howard’s propensity to put his foot in his mouth. It seems as though no matter what he says, he can’t seem to come out of it. He responded in kind:
“Those were my teammates for years. They helped me become the player that I am today. We all got to the Finals because of that.”