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Dwight Howard fires back at Kobe, says he has to watch out for himself

Feb 7, 2013, 1:00 PM EDT

Kobe Bryant, Dwight Howard AP

Well Dwight Howard, you wanted to be the man on a bigger stage. Welcome to all that entails.

Howard has been banged up this season and while he’s been good he has not been the dominant force Lakers fans expected. And now they need him to be — the Lakers are trying to make a playoff push and a lot of that falls on the shoulders of Dwight Howard to be a leader with Pau Gasol out injured for six weeks (at least).

It falls on Howard’s shoulder, the one with a torn labrum he has struggled to play through. And the bad back that hasn’t been right all season. He’s been out the last three games because of the shoulder. Kobe Bryant decided to push Howard in a very Kobe and very public way, saying the team needs him and to just suck it up.

Howard didn’t like that at all, and shot back at shootaround in Boston Thursday. Howard went through shootaround but is a game-time decision tonight. Here is what Howard said, via Dave McMenamin of ESPNLosAngeles.com. On Kobe telling him to play:

“That’s his opinion. That’s it. He’s not a doctor, I’m not a doctor.”’

What really boiled Howard’s blood was calling his competitiveness into question.

“”I want to play, I mean, why wouldn’t I want to play? But, at the same time, this is my career, this is my future, this is my life. I can’t leave that up to anybody else because nobody else is going to take care of me. So, if people are pissed off that I don’t play or if I do play, whatever it may be, so what? This is my career. If I go down, then what? Everybody’s life is going to go on. I don’t want to have another summer where I’m rehabbing and trying to get healthy again. I want to come back and have another great year. That’s what I want to do.”

Kobe did backtrack a little at shootaround, saying he doesn’t know how Howard’s body feels.

Howard has said recently that he tried to play through back issues last year and it made them worse and forced the surgery he had and that he is still struggling to overcome. Howard said he learned a lesson from that.

And Howard knows he is a free agent next summer, he’s looking at a max deal. He’ll get that so long as the injuries don’t hold teams back.

For his first seven years in the league Howard was basically injury free, missing just four games. But the last couple years have been a struggle for the 27-year-old physically and he is struggling to deal with this.

My feeling is Kobe’s message got through, Howard will play against the Celtics. But how many more games before he aggravates that shoulder again? Can he really play through it and be effective? Can he lead the Lakers on the defensive end?

As I have said before, at the start of the season it was a lock Howard would re-sign with the Lakers this summer. Now I think it’s still likely, but that lock is open and other teams are going to try to push through that door.

  1. luz56 - Feb 7, 2013 at 4:58 PM

    And Hollywood saga continues…..

    • badintent - Feb 7, 2013 at 11:56 PM

      Starring Jack as the ” Old Man”
      Starring George Cloony as the GM
      Starring Matt Damon as The Idiot Jim Buss( he did method acting for this part by looking in the mirror)
      Starring Kim K as Vanessa Bryant
      Cameo appearance by Charles Barkley “Lakers ain’t gonna make the playoffs”
      Starring Donald Tump as himself:”Everyone who is a coach, player or management is Fired ! ”
      Cameo by Mike Brown: “I can’t stop laughing”

      • progress2011 - Feb 8, 2013 at 4:56 AM

        NICE ….ahahahahahhaa

        Mike Brown, Chillin on a beach somewhere….cashing them laker checks….LAUGHING all the way to the bank !!!!!

        ahahahaha

    • badintent - Feb 8, 2013 at 2:40 PM

      bozofoall has left the building for the last time ………….. last seen on a Greyhound bus ………………..movin to Boston, cant’t beat’em , join’em

  2. thebadguyswon - Feb 7, 2013 at 5:10 PM

    What a primadona bitch Dwight Howard is.

  3. 1509lucky - Feb 7, 2013 at 5:30 PM

    If he leaves,he looks like the B#tch that a lot of folks think that he is. He”ll never be respected if he tucks his tail between his legs and goes somewhere else. He is the Best Center in the game,but that and a .99 cents will get you a Bag of Chips,if he’s asked to be “The Man” on this or any other team. He simply is not built for it the way that Shaq was.

  4. paulhargis53 - Feb 7, 2013 at 6:02 PM

    God, im loving this! Now DH is a bitch?! Before the season, he was the savior.

    Come on guys, come up with some more trades where the,Lakers get all stars and only have to give up Duhon or Blake.

    Delusional!

    Kobe has no business telling anyone to man up. DH is,already playing at 75% with his back. The torn labrum is very painful and only gets better with rest/or surgery.

    Kobe is goading him for selfish reasons. Hes just as delusional as the laker fanbase in thinking another title is coming, this year or next.

    By the way, past titles are great for the franchise and all, but theyvhave ZERO relevance to this season. So, keys just stick to what’s relevant, huh? Wait, that doesn’t work out for you laker dunces….

    • badintent - Feb 7, 2013 at 11:42 PM

      Doc Rivers: “Lakers ? Lakers ? I guess their plane got stuck in Chicago due to the big snow storm.The high school team that did show up was pretty bad. But give them credit for mailing it in, they knew they were gonna get an asswhompping..We ‘ve won 6 straight. News of our demise has been highly exaggrated”

  5. omniusprime - Feb 8, 2013 at 9:23 AM

    Howard is such a crybaby and rather selfish. He’ll never rank up there with Maiken, Chamberlain, Kareem or Shaq as a great Laker center. It’s pretty obvious this whining prima donna isn’t championship material. When Kobe says “Jump” Howard shouldn’t even have to ask how high, he should just jump as high as he can. Howard’s problem is he really doesn’t take winning a championship seriously, his worth ethic leaves a lot to be desired as does his courage, or should I say extreme lack thereof.

    Howard is losing the respect of Laker fans whining about his injury. Suck it up big guy, that’s what real professionals do. Kobe certainly has shown by example how to play injured and win. Andrew Bynum certainly had the guts to play injured, helped the Lakers win a championship by showing true grit.

    Man Up Howard the Coward!!!

    • scalfor3 - Feb 11, 2013 at 12:27 AM

      If you call yourself a Laker fan, spell the name Mikan correctly

  6. guardiannuon - Feb 8, 2013 at 10:34 AM

    This is what I have been told me whole life:
    I have the talent to do big things,
    I have the skills to make a difference,
    I have the power to dominate,
    Basically, I’ve been told I’m Superman.

    Right now my body and mind tell me:
    I’m banged up and hurt,
    I feel weak and tired,
    I’m starting to wonder:
    Am I really invincible?

    My team tells me:
    I need me to step up,
    I have to lead,
    Push through and persevere
    They need me to be the hero they I can be,

    My advisors tell me:
    You’re young, you still have time,
    Don’t do too much; you’ll lose it all,
    Think of your future, think of yourself.
    You can’t save everyone.

    And this is what I know:
    My name is Dwight Howard,
    I’m 27 years old,
    I play for the famed Lakers,
    I’m hurt, and
    My contract expires this year.

    I know everyone is being hard on Dwight. A lot of it he’s put it on himself and deserves it (see Orlando history), other things are out of his control and we can’t blame him for it (injuries happen). But the reality is: this is where he is in life and he has to deal with it.

    Howard is your typical youth going through a difficult transition into adulthood. All youth believe themselves to be invincible, they can do anything. This is simple psychology and human sociology speaking. But Dwight’s injuries are bringing him back down to earth, he doubts his once thought immortality. And this has him thinking about his future, and puts him in the dilemma he is in.

    Perhaps he really does want to play hard, but he feels breakable. And if he is breakable, what he once thought would be a long career is in doubt. He feels insecure, and now seeks security for his future. All these things are playing through his head.

    If he plays hard now, and gets seriously injured, his big pay day comes in jeopardy. If he doesn’t play hard and plays it safe, everyone will judge him for it. He is still a youth mentally, and the mentality of most youths is being well liked and accepted.

    Kobe knows exactly what he was saying and what is going on Dwight’s head. Kobe doesn’t want him playing if he “seriously” is hurt. That hurts the team. Kobe’s words was an attempt to snap him out of his “woe is me” mind frame, which is hurting the team’s moral. Regardless of whether or not he is on the court, an angry Howard is better than a “pity me” Howard. Unfortunately, as we saw last night, Howard does not have the drive right now.Howard may be injured physically right now which happens, but his mental injury (The recognition that he is mortal) is what is really hurting him and the Lakers’s.

    Sorry for the long post, I just had to rant this out.

    • badintent - Feb 9, 2013 at 8:19 PM

      I was thinking Langston Hughes when I read your poem. Very nice indeed. Spend more time on your craft and much less time on your blogs, more $$$ for good poems, bands buy then for songs. Leonard Cohen has made $$$$ writing poems all his career.

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