To say Dwight Howard and Kobe Bryant didn’t get along when they were teammates on the Lakers during the 2012-13 season would be a gross understatement.
Things got so bad between the two superstars that, when Howard was in contract negotiations with the Lakers as an unrestricted free agent in 2013, he tried to get the team to move on from Bryant, who at the time was 34 years old and was in the early stages of recovering from a ruptured Achilles tendon. Unsurprisingly, the Lakers balked at Howard’s request, and the three-time Defensive Player of the Year signed four-year, $88 million max contract with the Houston Rockets.
Up until very recently, that was the last memory Lakers fans had of Howard, outside of Bryant calling Howard soft in the middle of a game. Now, at the age of 34 himself, Howard is trying to help LeBron James and Anthony Davis bring a championship to Los Angeles this season, and his willingness to accept his new role has put him back on the good side of the Lakers community, which includes Bryant.
Just how good are Howard and Bryant now? After the Lakers’ win over the New York Knicks on Wednesday, Howard told reporters that he wants Bryant to help him in the dunk contest at NBA All-Star Weekend.
Dwight Howard says he wants to get Kobe Bryant to join him in the dunk contest. He wants Laker Nation to make it happen.— Dave McMenamin (@mcten) January 23, 2020
Dwight Howard is trying to get Laker fans to help convince Kobe Bryant to help him in the dunk contest next month.— Kyle Goon (@kylegoon) January 23, 2020
“Have I asked him? Not yet. Just gotta get all the fans behind me first. Setting the table. Need you guys, ‘Hey Kobe, can you get in the dunk contest with Dwight?’” pic.twitter.com/udWPpQrtmi
The fact that Howard’s asking Lakers fans and not Bryant himself is probably telling as to how close they actually are, but it could also be just Howard hoping that a little public support helps his cause.
Whatever the case may be, I can guarantee you that no dunk will be better than Howard dunking over or on Bryant on national television, regardless of who’s in the contest. Not one.