Howard Should Feel Lucky to be a Laker?
During all this, the person who should grow the most is (Dwight) Howard. He comes to Los Angeles not having to take a team on his shoulders; Kobe (Bryant) already does that. Howard doesn’t have to try to lead for the first time in his career; Kobe and (Steve) Nash will do that and hopefully Howard will learn from watching, up close, how it’s done. And by the time Kobe and Nash retire, Howard will have learned how a leader comports himself, when it’s time to get serious, how and when to make demands on himself and others.
If Howard is the player he professes to be and becomes the person he can become, then there’s zero chance he’ll be talking about free agency at the end of the season. He’s not going to go anywhere else where he can make more money, or be more famous, or play for a team that matters more to the league or the basketball world. When Wilt (Chamberlain) and Kareem (Abdul Jabbar) left the Lakers, it was to retire. Shaq’s (O’Neal) best years, by far, were in Los Angeles, and it’s the reputation, wealth and fame he built there that he’ll ride the rest of his life.
Dwight Howard is going to wake up sometime in the middle of the winter and thank the basketball gods he’s a Laker and not playing somewhere else, anywhere else. And if he has both greatness in him and a decisive bone in his body, he’ll know that being a Laker for the long haul is the best thing that will ever happen to him.