Source: Dwight’s ‘Been Coddled’
Within the Los Angeles Lakers, there had been a belief that a late January team meeting in Memphis could’ve been the beginning of Dwight Howard’s future with the franchise, or merely the beginning of the end. No restraints, no mercy, no holding back. Kobe Bryant had climbed into Howard in a way that was startling, sobering, a moment of penetrating and unpleasant truths.
Every time you trash me to teammates, it gets back to me, witnesses said Bryant told Howard in the visiting locker room of the FedEx Forum. Every time you do one of your impersonations when I walk out of the room, I find out.
Everything tumbled out of Bryant, one grievance after another, and the Lakers coaches and players sat watching the two biggest personas in the room push closer together, or irreconcilably apart.
Bryant had come to rage against the idea that Howard’s clownish disposition could overtake the locker room, the Lakers’ culture, and had warned Howard that he would never, ever let it happen. He hated it with Shaquille O’Neal, but Shaq performed on a championship plane for the Lakers and delivered a disposition to dominate on the floor.
“Kobe talked to Dwight in a way that I don’t think anyone one had ever talked to him – not in Orlando, not here, not in his life, I’m betting,” one witness in the room told Yahoo! Sports. “He’s been coddled, and Kobe wasn’t going to coddle him.”