Howard to Leave the Clown Act Behind?
In the end, (Dwight) Howard needed the Lakers and (Kobe) Bryant. And yes – for now and the future – Bryant and the Lakers needed Howard. The trade was completed on Friday and Howard gets the bright lights, big city and a championship chase with the Lakers. Howard gets his Showtime, but make no mistake: Howard comes without leverage in the locker room and doesn’t have the latitude to revert back to his old class-clown self.
“I think that changes just by the pressure that he’s under now,” Bryant told Yahoo! Sports late Friday night “That pressure is on us all. We have to win championships. The focus will be higher, the intensity will be higher.”
Yes, the Lakers need a serious-minded star for a serious-minded basketball franchise. Stan Van Gundy tried so, so hard to instill that within Howard, but the culture of Orlando always made the Magic beholden to Howard. No more. Howard is bigger than life, but he isn’t bigger than the Lakers.
So, yes, Bryant searched out Howard’s cell phone on Friday morning and made the call to Howard that the two superstars had resisted for months now. When the time comes rest assured Bryant will make something clear: The carnival act ends now. The clowning and goofing are done. During games, players used to hear Kevin Garnett screaming at Howard: “Paint your face, clown!” up and down the floor.
“That will be an interesting dynamic,” one ex-teammate of Howard told Yahoo! Sports on Friday. “Not even just with Kobe. I don’t think [Steve] Nash and Pau [Gasol] will enjoy that at this point in their career.”