Kobe Bryant immediately un-followed Dwight Howard on Twitter as soon as the big man chose to sign with the Houston Rockets over the Los Angeles Lakers, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t still think highly of him.
On Thursday’s charity event, Kobe Up Close, he opened up about a myriad of topics, including the most hated ex-Laker in history. ESPNLosAngeles.com was on hand:
“Dwight is a great kid,” Bryant said, nearly drowned out by boos. “We have different perspectives on what it takes to win.”
There are a few layers to this, one being that Bryant referred to Howard as a “kid.” Obviously, at 27 years-old, Howard is no longer among the league’s young, up-and-coming stars, but more of an established commodity. Bryant knows this, yet made sure to put it in that context. He also went a step further and subtly brought up the rings argument.
Moreover, “different perspectives” on winning could literally just be winning itself, since Howard has yet to win a title in one NBA Finals appearance.
The boos that came down for Howard were genuine, since Howard will leave Los Angeles perceived as the quintessential non-winner. He didn’t stick around and take the tougher road in Los Angeles under the scrutiny and bright lights of being one of the marquee players in the Entertainment Capital of the World, where championship-or-bust is the mantra. Instead, he chose less money, but also much less scrutiny and expectation. If he doesn’t win in the Lone Star State, he’ll still be beloved in the eyes of Rockets fans.
That’s what Kobe was referring to — that standard of excellence that doesn’t seem to exist anywhere else in the NBA. Bryant has a way to say so much with so few words, one of the true signs of the intelligence that’s made him so great throughout his career.
Photo Credit: Stephen Dunn / Getty Images
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