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Kobe has a tough time relating to Dwight Howard saying his return to Orlando will be ‘emotional’

Mar 11, 2013, 8:40 AM EDT

Kobe Bryant, Dwight Howard AP

LOS ANGELES — Dwight Howard will make his return to Orlando on Tuesday when the Lakers visit to play the Magic, in what will be his first trip back since he tortured the fan base there for essentially the entirety of last season.

The way Howard dealt with his eventual exit from Orlando has been well-documented, and honestly, he couldn’t have handled things any worse.

Howard’s teammates see what’s on the horizon for him, but some are more sympathetic than others.

“It’ll be an interesting atmosphere with Dwight going back there,” Steve Nash said, after the Lakers moved into the playoff picture with a win over the Bulls on Sunday. “I think he’s going to get some rough treatment, but at the same time, it’s good for Dwight to go back and kind of get some closure and maybe take a little bit of a beating. At the same time, people can’t forget what he did for that organization.”

As you might imagine, Kobe Bryant wasn’t exactly as supportive.

Bryant seemed incredulous when told that Howard said his return on Tuesday would be “emotional,” and laughed off the idea while providing his teammate with some words of wisdom in advance of the team’s visit.

“Emotional?! I’ll talk to him,” Bryant said, while seeming a bit exasperated. “Just go out there and bust they ass. Show them what they’re missing.”

This was followed by big laughs all around, because it was clear by Bryant’s expression that he couldn’t relate at all to that sentiment.

“Save the emotional s— for when you retire,” he added.

Bryant was asked how he’d handle a similar situation, and he answered just as we’ve come to expect.

“I’d tear ‘em up,” he said. “It’s like me going back to Philadelphia for the Finals [in 2001]. They hated me for it, but it is what it is, you know what I mean? They’ll appreciate him at the end of his career when it’s all said and done. But right now, no matter what he says, they’re going to boo him and they’re not going to like him right now.”

That’s the message Bryant was trying to get across through the media to his most gregarious teammate — you can’t make everyone happy, and no matter what you say, the timing isn’t right for any type of forgiveness.

“There’s nothing that he can say that’s going to alter what they’re going to do,” Bryant said. “So why bother? The best thing to do is to go out there and stay focused on what we’re trying to accomplish and what we’re trying to do. It’s water under the bridge.”

Bryant relented a bit eventually, and after thinking about Howard’s personality, he seemed to relate — if only for a moment.

“It may be tough for him,” Bryant said. “He’s a very, very nice kid. He wants to say the right things and please as many people as he can. You can’t please everybody, and I’ll talk to him about it a little bit before we get down to Orlando and try to put a little of that a–hole in him for the game.”

Finally, Bryant was reminded of a time when another teammate of his had to return to Orlando after leaving to play for the Lakers, when Shaquille O’Neal did so in 1997. So what was that like?

“Shaq didn’t give a s—,” he said.

  1. ocgunslinger - Mar 11, 2013 at 8:50 AM

    Kobe is absolutely right on this one. Howard needs to play a monster game.

    • fanofevilempire - Mar 11, 2013 at 11:15 AM

      I think Brett wanted Kobe to hug Dwight.
      oh boy!

    • zerole00 - Mar 11, 2013 at 2:27 PM

      I’d say half right.

      “…Show them what they’re missing.”

      So he’s suggesting that the guy who demanded he be traded from a city should also taunt them as well? He wanted to leave, it’s not like they were the ones who initially wanted to get rid of him. He tortured them for the better part of a YEAR, and his “leaked” demands hurt their trade bargaining position.

      • manchestermiracle - Mar 11, 2013 at 2:32 PM

        Out of context. You’re conveniently leaving out prior years where Magic management failed to put anyone of substance around Howard. And playing a good game to show Orlando “what they’re missing” is hardly taunting.

      • zerole00 - Mar 11, 2013 at 4:45 PM

        How does the blame for Magic’s management fall on the fans? The fans are the “they’re” Kobe and Dwight are referring to. By the way, I don’t blame Dwight for wanting to leave. That’s his right, but to drag it out by forfeiting that opt out and then constantly weakening the Magic’s bargaining power isn’t exactly classy behavior. At least with LeBron, as ridiculous as his 1 hour special was, he was a free agent and it was completely within his right.

  2. joshm5683 - Mar 11, 2013 at 9:09 AM

    I’m a big Lakers fan and its been a frustrating season and its great to see them pulling it together, but I can’t really agree with Kobe’s comments of “show them what they’re missing” they know what they’re missing and thats why they’re pissed. It wouldn’t have been a big deal if Howard sucked. You didn’t see Milwaukee Bucks fans all up in arms when Stephen Jackson returned after being disgruntled and talking bad of the organization before getting traded away.

    • fatcamper - Mar 11, 2013 at 9:57 AM

      I’m a big Magic fan and I also don’t think Dwight should take that advice and “show [us] what [we're] missing.” We already hate the guy, so there is no reason to act like an egotistical self-centered jerk in his return. We saw enough of that while he was here.

      I’m not sure it will be a big deal, besides some booing from the crowd. We aren’t competitive this year and really have no presence to remotely challenge Dwight inside. He’s healthy and we suck…what is there to be emotional about?

      • fanofevilempire - Mar 11, 2013 at 11:20 AM

        he can avoid the press before the game and
        after thank them for cheering him and move on.
        he has a way of creating distraction, avoid that now.

    • fanofevilempire - Mar 11, 2013 at 11:17 AM

      would it be better if Kobe told Dwight to have a
      news conference and apologize and cry?
      this is basketball, not a love story.

  3. fotydaze - Mar 11, 2013 at 9:42 AM

    Kobe is right!!!

  4. reebs33 - Mar 11, 2013 at 10:06 AM

    As a lifelong Celtics fan, and it pains me to admit this next part, I’m really starting to like Kobe. The guy has become one of the best sound bytes in all of sports.

  5. remyje - Mar 11, 2013 at 10:37 AM

    Imagine the temper tantrum Dwight would throw if someone dashed him with a drink.. He would probably start snapping his fingers and smacking his lips together…..

  6. gagiants - Mar 11, 2013 at 10:52 AM

    True as Kobe says save that stuff for retirement or atleast after the game……..if they don’t love you Dwight for what he did (minus the circus that happened last year,of course) tear them apart on the court. It’s a perfect situation really, for Dwight to take out his frustrations with getting booed on the court……..Although I might say that his comments that echoed with Orlando last week does give them a bigger reason to come at Dwight for what he said(the comments about it was just me there were a little over the top).

  7. loungefly74 - Mar 11, 2013 at 11:00 AM

    Kobe…playing AND talking the game hard as a mofo. he is right and DH needs adapt that vision. heck…if anything, it should make DH player harder coming back to the “circus” he created…

  8. asimonetti88 - Mar 11, 2013 at 11:19 AM

    Kobe Bryant: love him or hate him, he doesn’t give a s—

  9. thetooloftools - Mar 11, 2013 at 11:28 AM

    NOBODY wants to admit they really do miss Lemar Odem.

    • paleihe - Mar 11, 2013 at 1:08 PM

      What’s with the misspelling of his name?

      • 00maltliquor - Mar 12, 2013 at 2:10 AM

        …and with the out-of-place comment! LOL

  10. rickeydynamite25 - Mar 11, 2013 at 11:30 AM

    Im just glad Mitch K didn’t listen to all of the brilliant fans who said we should get rid of Howard and trade him. Kobe must’ve told Dwight to ditch the headband along with the leg warmers, because he’s been a beast ever since. The maxi pad headband works for Lebron, but it doesn’t work for D12.

    • paleihe - Mar 11, 2013 at 1:09 PM

      Seriously.

      I couldn’t believe some Laker fans when they wanted to dump the best center in the game for a couple of draft picks. Just unbelievable what goes on in some of their heads.

      • money2long - Mar 11, 2013 at 1:17 PM

        panic

  11. baymac408 - Mar 11, 2013 at 12:05 PM

    Kobe is a b**ch!! Lakers are garbage.. Hate on the 13 championships?? Or hate on their fake a** fans!! Um.. I think both!!

    • asimonetti88 - Mar 11, 2013 at 1:05 PM

      Lakers have 16 championships.

    • manchestermiracle - Mar 11, 2013 at 2:29 PM

      Gad to see you finally got yerself a hobby, hosehead.

  12. themars211 - Mar 11, 2013 at 12:31 PM

    thats 16 championships sir

  13. Mr. Wright 212 - Mar 11, 2013 at 12:56 PM

    Kobe is right. Plain and simple. This is why the NBA is going the way of WWE when he retires. Everyone else cares too much about what others think. That sentiment only really comes with age and overcoming adversity — the latter being something that many people run from and thereby don’t develop the character that comes with it. Appreciate Kobe’s greatness now, if you don’t already. Too many mental softies permeating the NBA now.

  14. dj76min - Mar 11, 2013 at 1:54 PM

    I agree with Kobe’s message but not his delivery. He’s right. There’s nothing Howard can do to appease Magic fans after last year’s debacle. All he can do it playhard, not showboat or gloat and move one. Whatever Howard does is not going to change the minds of Magic fans. If he tries to apologize, people are going to say it’s not sincere. If he acts like he doesn’t care, then he’s the jerk. It’s a lose-lose situation. I know it’s unfair but Dwight just need to keep his head down, ball and maybe even smile a bit less. Then move on to Atlanta.

    • manchestermiracle - Mar 11, 2013 at 2:30 PM

      That “delivery” was more for Howard than anyone else.

      • dj76min - Mar 11, 2013 at 3:03 PM

        Fair point, but there are different ways to handle the situation, especially involving Howard. I’m not saying put on kid gloves when dealing with Howard, but there are different ways to handle different people in all kinds of situations. I just think Nash handled it better.

  15. tesslord - Mar 11, 2013 at 2:39 PM

    That mindset keeps Kobe competitive all these years. I watch him play and you could see that fierceness in his eyes. Even when they are inevitably losing you could feel that that his mind already moved on to the next game. I’m thrilled when they lose since I’m a Celtic fan but I do respect his style.

  16. lakerluver - Mar 11, 2013 at 4:02 PM

    Go out and give the Magic 25-20 & 4, Dwight…that’s what they get for not surrounding him with enough talent. I bet you the LAKERS will.
    #justwaitandseewhowegetin14

  17. asainta - Mar 11, 2013 at 6:50 PM

    @lakerluver-you know paulhargis53 would cook you for that statement

  18. jjones314 - Mar 11, 2013 at 11:55 PM

    I like how Kobe’s the “toughest” man in the world. He talks so tough. Now days the grumpy old man just talks and talks and talks. Shut the f up and get ready to get bounced out the 1st round of the playoffs by OKC or The Spurs.

  19. chainbuzz - Mar 12, 2013 at 1:55 AM

    Dwight, you’re on Team Kobe-Kai now! No mercy! Sweep the left leg!

  20. chainbuzz - Mar 12, 2013 at 1:58 AM

    Like the Honeybadger, Kobe don’t give a sh-t!

  21. omniusprime - Mar 12, 2013 at 9:09 AM

    Kobe knows how to keep his emotions in check and he’s teaching Howard not to be worried about Orlando’s reaction to his first return to the place that didn’t support him. Let’s not forget how the Tragic fans tortured him for not winning a title. Shaq had the right idea about Tragic fans and Howard needs to follow Kobe’s sage advice to torture the Tragic with his awesome play.

    The Tragic surrounded Howard with garbage, no wonder he left frustrated. Now Howard is with a team with plenty of star power, Dwight no longer has to carry the whole load like he did facing the Lakers in the Finals. How many stupid plays did his teammates pull that lost the Tragic a chance to beat the Lakers? Yeah too many.

    I hope Howard goes out there and crushes his former loser team, and hopefully Kobe will torture the Tragic fans with an awesome scoring display. Smart Tragic fans will realize it’s time to find a new team to root for, one that wins championships and has two Supermen!

    Thanks Dr. Buss, Rest in Peace!!! Go Howard!!! Go Kobe!!! Fire Dumbtoni!!!

  22. pistolpete0903 - Mar 12, 2013 at 3:07 PM

    I thought I would never say this…..but I am with Kobe on this.
    You can’t please everyone.

  23. trimaster1 - Mar 18, 2013 at 12:23 PM

    I have to agree with Kobe, even though I don’t like him.

    Now, if only they could apply that fight to beating elite teams instead of hoping to squeak into the playoffs by the skin of their teeth.

    Kobe is a great player, but is the last person you really want to take advice from.

    If only he & Shaq could’ve co-existed he’d have more rings. But they couldn’t.

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