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Kobe has mentored Dwight Howard for years. Secretly.

Oct 9, 2012, 12:38 PM EDT

Golden State Warriors v Los Angeles Lakers Getty Images

It became a big story last season, when Dwight Howard was on the trading block and reportedly did not want to come to Los Angeles following a conversation with Kobe Bryant where Kobe made it clear the Lakers were his team. (How much of that leak was Howard and how much was the talkative people around Howard is up for debate.)

It was assumed as part of it that Kobe and Howard didn’t have much of a relationship. But that was not the case — they had been talking for years. Not just at All-Star Games and the like, but real mentoring conversations.

Howard laid it all out for Sam Amick of Sports Illustrated in a fantastic profile.

“What people don’t know is that this is one of the guys who I’ve been talking to for about four years now,” Howard said. “And he has been an amazing help to me, just pushing me in ways — secretly because we played in the Eastern and Western Conference. But it’s been him just talking to me, showing me how to do certain things with my team and things like that…

“I told [Bryant] as soon as I got here, ‘Hey, I want to be one of the greatest to ever play. I want you to push me every day,’ ” Howard said. “And he was like, ‘I’m going to push you, because I see something in you, and I want to make sure that I do my part.’ And I promised him that I’m going to do whatever I can do.”

I bet there are more guys than we know who turn to Kobe now as a mentor, as a guy who has been there and done that and knows what it takes to win. What it takes to stay on top.

We’re going to learn a lot about Howard the next couple of years, it’s not about what Kobe tells him anymore. The level of pressure on him is different. Right now he sounds like his old, happy-go-lucky self in the interview with Amick. But how does he adapt that personality to the brighter spotlight he is in now, and how does he handle the pressure — from Kobe, from other teammates, from the fans — as the Lakers move toward the playoffs. The Lakers as an organization don’t see making the finals as a successful season.

  1. dmaq1 - Oct 9, 2012 at 1:20 PM

    as a Lakers fan, i feel like Howard is saying all the right things.

    They have no room for error though, this is the best team that I’ve ever seen on paper.

  2. ihavenonickname - Oct 9, 2012 at 1:49 PM

    In the game, the things that are hard to do with added (psychological) pressure are shooting and ball handler decision making.

    Pressure only motivates and improves hustle plays like rebounding, defense and dunking the ball.

    We all know what Howard does and doesn’t do out there on the court.

    I think he’ll be just fine with the pressure.

    • zerole00 - Oct 9, 2012 at 5:54 PM

      Howard’s character is questionable after last season, but his work ethic has always been great.

  3. AlohaMrHand - Oct 9, 2012 at 2:01 PM

    Kobe wasn’t giving him fashion advice I hope

  4. clownsfan - Oct 9, 2012 at 3:12 PM

    I don’t believe a word that comes out of this gutless, heartless clowns mouth. After the way he has conducted himself the last 2 yrs there is no way I believe Kobe was “guiding” him. Kobe would’ve worked him over. Because that’s what Kobe does to b*tches……

  5. lakerluver - Oct 9, 2012 at 4:06 PM

    Tsk, tsk, tsk ^^^what a silly, “little” man you are…..Anyway, this story brought tears to my LAKERS luvin eyes!! Is there anymore doubt that D12 is retiring a LAKER?

    • cosanostra71 - Oct 9, 2012 at 4:20 PM

      What makes you so certain he’s going to leave?

    • manchestermiracle - Oct 9, 2012 at 4:53 PM

      Yo, doni, roommate of Paulie’s?

  6. lakerluver - Oct 9, 2012 at 4:33 PM

    Another homophobic, self-hating poster. What a sad world we live in where we can’t just debate sports without getting personal. I learned a long time ago all the “tough” guys are on online sites. I’m being facetious. Anyway, all one has to do is listen to Dwight speak. If you think he’s going anywhere else but L.A. after this season it’s only wishful thinking on your part. The beautiful thing is in 2-3 years when Nash, Artest, Jamison, Pau and Kobe’s numbers come off the books the LAKERS will be in excellent position to add another elite free agent or two to a team that has a 28 or 29 yr old D12 in his prime. So, hate on, haters. The LAKERS are the best franchise in the NBA by far and arguably the best in all of sports. Thus, I’m a LAKERLUVER FOR LIFE!!!!! Have it, losers.

  7. shockexchange - Oct 9, 2012 at 5:05 PM


  8. omniusprime - Oct 9, 2012 at 5:05 PM

    If Howard is truly intelligent he will defer to Kobe as the team’s ultimate leader and listen to Kobe’s advice on how to improve his game. I hope Kobe does push Dwight everyday to become the greatest center ever and I hope Howard is smart and hungry enough to do the extra mile with his winning smile to win as many rings as possible. Dwight now has to prove that he is worthy of being another great Laker center, and if he listens to Kobe he certainly will be.

    Go Kobe!!! Go Dwight!!! Go Lakers!!!

  9. paulhargis53 - Oct 9, 2012 at 5:18 PM

    No, hes just another poster that detests lakerluver. He acts like a teenage girl about the Lakers.

    Honestly, I have a question. How can you other Lakers fans defend this pos lakerluver? Honestly, he has zero redeeming qualities. He makes your fanbase look bad, he’s a know nothing. Why defend him? I don’t get it.

  10. paulhargis53 - Oct 9, 2012 at 6:06 PM

    ohsoblessed, have you ever heard the saying if the high heel pump fits, wear it?

    Look, lakerluver does the SAME EXACT THING that he is crying about!

    Anyone who doesn’t agree with his idiotic postings, he calls names or tells them they are stupid. Now that he has some people calling him out, he has issues and can’t handle it. He’s a hypocrite, a baby and not very smart.

  11. jerdogthompson - Oct 9, 2012 at 9:54 PM

    Easy Pablo. No need to blow a gasket.

    I think your post last week about Lakerluver about summed it up. No need to engage in a battle of wits with someone with no brain. Just sit back and enjoy the train wreck of team Viagra. Strike that, the Lakers can just play their starting 5 all year for 48 minutes a game. Given they have such a deep and qualified bench mob what’s the point in the other teams showing up. (Oh yeah, jordan hill has a herniated disk, guess its contagious) I think they may just get other teams to forfeit before the game starts as they are ” the best on paper”. That’s why it’s called paper, it folds up and is easily thrown away. Bring it on Meatballs.

  12. misterdreamer119 - Oct 9, 2012 at 9:58 PM

    White Howard lies. Hes a dance clown not a true baller. No rings for him OKC western champs.

  13. whohurtu - Oct 9, 2012 at 10:51 PM

    The only dream is okc winning western conference championship again, stick to dreams, stay away from commenting and predictions

  14. badintent - Oct 10, 2012 at 1:23 AM

    TOO bad Kobe didn’t mentor Metta before he hit Harden.

  15. paulhargis53 - Oct 10, 2012 at 11:19 AM

    lakerluver thought that mentoring was getting sanduskied. He is sorely disappointed by this article.

  16. eerock41 - Oct 10, 2012 at 12:14 PM

    best way to beat the Lakers it to hack-a-shaq, opps i mean hack-a-Howard. Put Howard on the line and see how fast Kobe really gets in his face.

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