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Kobe’s pitch to Dwight Howard: ‘I can teach you here’ how to be a champion

Jul 3, 2013, 10:19 PM EDT

Kobe Bryant, Dwight Howard AP

As Dwight Howard enters seclusion in order to weigh his free agent decision, details continue to emerge about the various meetings he had with the five teams he’s currently considering.

The one with the Lakers was the most intriguing, of course, considering Howard played in Los Angeles all of last season and the team barely snuck into the playoffs despite the embarrassment of riches from a talent perspective that flooded the Lakers roster.

Exactly what the Lakers would say to Howard to try to convince him to stay is anyone’s guess, although one thing the team could point to was the way things came together during the second half of the season, when L.A. finished with a 28-12 record entering the postseason.

The team’s best and most tenured player, Kobe Bryant, had his own message for Howard, and it involved winning championships.

From Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports:

When Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant spoke to Dwight Howard on Tuesday, his words to the free-agent center resounded an unmistakable and unflinching message: Let me teach you how to be a champion.

“You need to learn how it’s done first, and I can teach you here,” Bryant told Howard during the Lakers’ presentation, witnesses in the room described to Yahoo! Sports.

“You have to learn how it’s done,” Bryant told Howard, witnesses described. “I know how to do it and I’ve learned from the best – players who have won multiple times over and over.”

“Instead of trying to do things your way, just listen and learn and tweak it, so it fits you,” Bryant told him.

Not exactly a soft sell here, but Bryant and the Lakers are the one team courting Howard that could afford to be brutally honest.

No other player on any team has the championship resume that Bryant currently has, and though Howard said multiple times late last season that he and Bryant “weren’t best friends,” they were able to come to an understanding as teammates.

Howard may appreciate the straightforward approach from Bryant, as opposed to every other team promising the world with no evidence that they will be able to deliver, and with no history of personal experience like that which Howard shares with the Lakers.

All reports say that the Lakers’ presentation with Dwight went extremely well, and even better than expected.

Those rolling their eyes at how Bryant reportedly approached things are only seeing part of the story. Because if what Howard says about wanting to be in the best place to win is true, the reality is that he’d be gambling heavily in that respect by choosing to play anywhere else than for the Lakers, where winning over time has proven to be a sure thing.

  1. shockexchange - Jul 3, 2013 at 10:21 PM

    Interpretation: “I can teach you how to align yourself with ‘exceptionally more talent than the rest of the L’ so you can win a chip.”

    • apkyletexas - Jul 4, 2013 at 5:49 AM

      “I can teach you to take fade-away 3’s while Shaq and Pau dominate inside”.

      • jacksonkane - Jul 4, 2013 at 10:20 AM

        You just attributed 2 championships to Pau Gasol… Thank you – you made my day.

      • apkyletexas - Jul 4, 2013 at 11:44 AM

        You’re right – one of those should go to Metta, since Kobe disappeared like a scared girl in game 7 against Boston.

      • bucrightoff - Jul 4, 2013 at 2:17 PM

        To be fair to Kobe he didn’t disappear, he was just laying bricks huge that night (to the tune of 6-24). Really he owes Ron Ron his legacy because had he lost with those numbers, I mean Kobe would be down a notch at least.

  2. biggestredmiami - Jul 3, 2013 at 10:26 PM

    I understand where Kobe is coming from, but you have to be part of a championship run to learn how to be a champion, and there is no way that is happening for the Lakers any time soon.

    • cmehustle - Jul 3, 2013 at 10:32 PM

      Yea you gotta love Kobe, there is no quit in the man no matter how bleak things are looking. No way the Lakers are winning anything in the next three or four years unless A. They get Lebron. B. They get Durant. C. Kobe finds a time machine and takes Shaq through it with him.

      • nandaramesh - Jul 4, 2013 at 3:19 AM

        One more?
        D) Phil (or someone good) replaces Mike D’Antoni..

        I dont think he has what it takes to go all the way!

  3. bmoreravens1012013 - Jul 3, 2013 at 10:28 PM

    I couldn’tv said it better Brent…..Kobe, and the Lakers are the gold standard for championships. If you want to get rich, would you learn from a poor man? Just saying…..

    • daddyghi - Jul 4, 2013 at 12:14 AM

      why didn’t he taught last season?

      • money2long - Jul 4, 2013 at 12:40 AM

        perhaps winning in the first season with a new core isn’t so easy.

      • daddyghi - Jul 4, 2013 at 2:04 AM

        @money2long “perhaps winning in the first season with a new core isn’t so easy.”

        well… miami did it the first time.. they may have lost to dallas in the finals… but still… its a winning season for miami…

      • spthegr8 - Jul 4, 2013 at 9:35 AM

        @daddyghi
        Huh???? What is that. Broken typing????

      • aboogy123456 - Jul 4, 2013 at 2:38 PM

        perhaps winning without your best player isn’t easy either, idiots…The lakers dealt with a lot of issues all year, but they were able to make the playoffs and actually looked like a contender before Kobe went down, but you guys didn’t watch any lakers games so you wouldn’t know.

      • borderline1988 - Jul 4, 2013 at 5:07 PM

        “looked like a contender before Kobe went down”

        What are you smoking? The only reasons why they were in the playoffs were:

        1) the Jazz faded away at the end
        2) Kobe had some ridiculous shooting games at the end of the season, which allowed the Lakers to just squeak out some needed wins. But obviously those performances were unsustainable, especially against the Spurs.

        The Lakers did play a little better near the end of the season, but they were miles behind SAS, OKC, Denver, LAC and Memphis. They may have had a chance against GSW or Houston, but they wouldn’t have gone past 5 games against any of those other teams.

    • aboogy123456 - Jul 4, 2013 at 2:45 PM

      sorry meant to direct it to daddyghi, and all other laker haters who don’t understand the factors that led to their exit last year.

      • daddyghi - Jul 5, 2013 at 12:41 AM

        huh? i was merely asking why kobe didnt taught dwight to be a champ last year and now im a lakers hater? sory but i think ur the idiot… moron..

  4. floridascuba1 - Jul 3, 2013 at 10:34 PM

    Kobe can’t do anything himself. At least shaq and lebron could carry their teams to the finals without help. Kobe couldn’t. He needed shaq. Than pau

    • zacksdad - Jul 3, 2013 at 10:46 PM

      And Shaq needed Kobe and then Wade. Lebron needed Wade and Bosh. Jordan needed Pippen. Kareem needed Magic.

      So what was your point again?

      • caeser12 - Jul 4, 2013 at 1:45 PM

        Uh Zack, not trying to kill your buzz, or ruin your point but, Kareem won a title in Milwaukee in 1970-71, WITHOUT Magic.

        Just saying.

      • borderline1988 - Jul 4, 2013 at 5:13 PM

        zacksdad:

        Lebron did reach the Finals (with a bunch of bench players posing as starters). He also went to at least the 2nd round many times over, while on those Cavs teams, which btw was before he even fully matured as a player. Also finished with the top record in the league twice.

        Kobe, without another star, never did and would never have, at any point in his career, advanced out of the first round.

        So you’re right that you need a full team to win a championship. But Lebron is considerably better than Kobe. There isn’t a GM in the league who wouldn’t take Lebron over Kobe to start a team.

    • shockexchange - Jul 3, 2013 at 10:49 PM

      Exactly. He he needed “exceptionally more talent than the rest of the league.”

    • velascochad - Jul 3, 2013 at 10:54 PM

      yeah kobe needed help because basketball is a team game. thats why he needed shaq and pau. while lebron on the other hand needed wade,bosh,allen,refs,stern and his flopping skills

      • shockexchange - Jul 3, 2013 at 11:09 PM

        Horry Jr was the “help.”

    • smoothaswilkes - Jul 3, 2013 at 11:24 PM

      Kobe can do plenty on his own… Scoring title, leading Smush Parker to the playoffs, become a blackhole on offense, stand outside the 3 point line on defense.

      In all seriousness, I think that is the last thing Dwight wants to hear from Kobe. It would have been better if he said, “Dwight, I’ll Olympic Kobe. I’ll actually play defense, not force shots, and we’ll see who is actually open to take the last shot.”

      Until Kobe starts acting like he can actually share a team who in the heck is going to want to play alongside him for the next, what, 3 years?

      I’m the biggest Lakers fan there is but all you Kobe fanboys need to call a spade a spade. Sure, he played had an awesome season offensively last year but that matador defense killed any hope the Lakers had of a championship. And it sure didn’t help his relationship with Dwight.

      The fact Kobe, Nash, Dwight, and D’Antoni had an “honest” meeting about what happened this season in an effort to recruit Dwight and not during the actual season tells you all you need to know about the situation.

      And for those “Lakers fans” that think losing Dwight is a good thing need to jump off the bandwagon. LeBron is not coming… EVER. Beyond LBJ there isn’t another free agent in the next 5 years that can help the Lakers get a sniff of a championship more than Dwight. Hence the ass kissing from the Lakers FO, Kobe, Nash, D’Antoni, and anyone else that know anything about the NBA.

      #StayD12

      • shockexchange - Jul 4, 2013 at 9:40 AM

        Well said.

    • remmsterr - Jul 3, 2013 at 11:24 PM

      LeBron – the man who has two future HOF’er in Dwayne Wade and Ray Allen and a perennial All-star in Chris Bosh, CARRIED the Heat to championships? Really? I’m not a LeBron “basher” but that statement was ridiculous on your part.

      • velascochad - Jul 3, 2013 at 11:34 PM

        i didn’t say CARRIED i said they were the HELP that lbj needed. omfg please read

      • dannymac17 - Jul 3, 2013 at 11:42 PM

        i wouldnt call wade a HOFer

    • biggrimma - Jul 3, 2013 at 11:32 PM

      LEBRON CARRIED THE CAVS TO THE FINALS, HE DIDN’T WIN, BUT FLORIDA DIDN’T SAY ANYTHING ABOUT WINNING

    • stayhigh_247 - Jul 4, 2013 at 12:53 AM

      floridascuba1
      you sound ridiculous.

  5. bucrightoff - Jul 3, 2013 at 10:35 PM

    When you have the maturity of a 6-year old like Dwight, you can be taught a lot of things

    • miamatt - Jul 3, 2013 at 10:40 PM

      LOL

      … it teaches them while they learn…

  6. patfic15 - Jul 3, 2013 at 10:46 PM

    “You’re gonna need the 30 mil to support all these damn kids, Dwight”- Kobe.

  7. decimusprime - Jul 3, 2013 at 10:55 PM

    That’s just Mamba…no different than any other time. Always hungry!

  8. mrlitl - Jul 3, 2013 at 11:38 PM

    I assume you’re referring to Shaq carrying the Magic and LeBron carrying the Cavs to the Finals. Thats true. But dont forget that neither won it alone. Shaq needed Kobe. LeBron needed D Wade.
    And since when does Finals MVP go to “the help”? It’s fine not to like KB, but don’t be stupid enough to believe he hasn’t had an awesome career.

  9. Anoesis - Jul 4, 2013 at 12:30 AM

    “Instead of trying to do things your way, just listen and learn and tweak it, so it fits you,” Bryant told him.

    This is the gist of this melodrama. If Howard signs with the Lakers it means he’s bought into the idea that learning what it takes to win a title, from a team that has a few, is his main focus. That he’s willing to move away from the goof-ball reputation he now has and make becoming a champion his main focus.

    If Howard signs elsewhere it means he’d rather not have Bryant and company instruct him. Dallas might be able to provide that sort of guidance, as Nowitski has been there (along with Beaubois and Marion), but after that his choice becomes less about learning from old hands and more about figuring it all out himself with a very young team like Houston. And that maybe he just doesn’t want the kind of pressure he’d find himself under on a Lakers team expected to do well every year.

  10. dtlb58 - Jul 4, 2013 at 12:44 AM

    Howard is the Randy Moss of the NBA. Has all the talent,
    He just doesn’t give it his all every night and very immature. For all his greatness, How many SB rings does Moss have? 0.

  11. acdc84 - Jul 4, 2013 at 12:47 AM

    I’m in the minority here but as a Laker fan I feel they should let Howard move on, as he obviously doesn’t really wanna be in LA. 13-14 will be trainwreck of a rebuilding year but that’s OK. Come next summer LAL will be in a position to sign the best FAs out there, and who wouldn’t want to be a part of 1 of the 2 most storied franchises ever, and have a chance to play for a Laker franchise that will spend what they need to in order to assemble a team that’s gonna get back to the top??

  12. sportsfan18 - Jul 4, 2013 at 12:53 AM

    So Kobe tells Dwight the following…”You need to learn how it’s done first, and I can teach you here,” Bryant told Howard during the Lakers’ presentation, witnesses in the room described to Yahoo! Sports.

    Bryant just told Dwight you need to learn how it’s done first.

    Since Dwight still needs to learn how it’s done, that means Kobe didn’t teach him this during their past year together…

    I’m not exactly sure what he needs to teach Dwight, but if he couldn’t and didn’t do it all last year, he isn’t going to do it this coming season or the one or two after that…

    Preparation, scouting reports, watching and breaking down film etc… and whatever else all should have been discussed during plane flights, practice etc…

    How to play certain players, position yourself on the floor etc…

    To win a championship, one must be dedicated and prepare themselves year round. Push themselves. Learn from whomever and wherever they can get good info from.

    Dwight is rich, knows he’ll get the max contract etc… His game hasn’t improved really in his time in the NBA. He’s been consistent and he’s been good, really good but his game hasn’t really improved.

    I don’t like LeBron or Dwight. I’m old and I like MJ. But LeBron’s game has improved over the years he’s been in the league. He’s added to his game, worked on things and made improvements.

    Dwight isn’t going to learn. He wants to have fun, play around, dabble with the rich and famous etc…

    Kobe really wants more rings and he knows the odds of the Lakers winning one next year are much better with Howard than without Howard. That is the ONLY reason Kobe wants Howard to resign with the Lakers…

  13. sunsation3413 - Jul 4, 2013 at 1:40 AM

    Lakers aren’t winning with the team or coach they have now. Move on Dwight

  14. losanginsight - Jul 4, 2013 at 2:54 AM

    5 Rings.

    • elcapitanfiscal - Jul 5, 2013 at 11:06 AM

      He was the best player on his team for only two of them

  15. sdemp - Jul 4, 2013 at 7:04 AM

    L.A. should do a sign and trade with Howard and whoever. . .

    Houston – Asik and Lin
    GS – Bogut and Barns or Thompson
    Dallas – Marion, Carter, Crowder & Ledo

    Then sign J. Smith or A. Jefferson

    Howard is no good for L.A., they need depth and young talent.

  16. jeff6381 - Jul 4, 2013 at 8:17 AM

    Kobe talking to him like he is a father talking to his son would make me run far away if I was Dwight. I am tired of hearing about the history and tradition crap the Lakers won in the past they will soon go thru what all storied franchises go thru and thats rebuilding. The celtics are going thru it now just having that jersey on doesn’t guarantee you a championship you need great players.

  17. rodericksilva - Jul 4, 2013 at 8:50 AM

    …But the difference is that the Lakers seem to always bounce back quick and are always in the middle of things. Unlike most franchises who disappear for 10 years.

    That’s like Facebook or Bebo?

    Lets face it. If you were going to start a new company are you going to join forces with some guys that have a dream of making it big or do you join forces with mark zuckerberg from Facebook?

  18. rodericksilva - Jul 4, 2013 at 8:53 AM

    Do you sign with the Yankees this year knowing they are not winning it but have TWENTY SEVEN championships or do you go with the Pirates who are showing signs of improving but win once every 30 years?

  19. rumar1989 - Jul 4, 2013 at 12:23 PM

    smoothaswilkes, Kobe is a proven winner, what better person for Dwight to learn from than the Mamba. You talk about force shots, and until he learns to share, Kobe has done a lot in his career, and he’s hoping now to add to that. If you’re any kind of the biggest Laker fan as you claim to be, you wouldn’t say the things that you’re saying. Unlike yourself, i’m a true Laker fan, and i’m a true Kobe supporter. Kobe knows how to win, and lead a team to titles, and being a great leader. Kobe has that track record, and now is trying to show Dwight how to win in the NBA. Then when Kobe retires someday, If Dwight returns, he’ll be the guy. Stay positive guy, it’s your opinion yeah, but
    i’ve proven that i’m a true Laker fan supporter, and a proven Kobe supporter also.

  20. rumar1989 - Jul 4, 2013 at 12:32 PM

    jeff6381, Learning about the history of the Lakers isn’t crap, to you it is, but not to true Laker fans and real historians. When you have great big men in Laker history, that have experienced winning titles, as a great Big like Dwight, part of you wouldn’t mind joining that list. So jeff6381, you need to learn about history and how important it is, you maybe tired of hearing history, but it means a lot to learn about it, so keep that in mind jeff6381.

  21. rumar1989 - Jul 4, 2013 at 12:39 PM

    You said also jeff6381, that the Celtics are rebuilding, and you think that us Lakers should be. Well the difference is jeff, that The Lakers are still being in the contention for another title run, while Boston is giving up and decided that it’s time to rebuild and start over by going young. The Lakers we’re not thinking that at all, when want to stay in the picture a little while longer. When it’s time, we will go there, but it’s not happening anytime soon, we have a pretty good chance to surpass Boston
    for the most nba titles.

  22. jgray30 - Jul 4, 2013 at 3:52 PM

    Anyone could have carried the Cavs to the finals at that time. There was no competition in the east at all. what one man has done that in the western conference?

  23. mrlitl - Jul 5, 2013 at 1:51 AM

    Pau Gasol is not a star. I’d actually rather have Marc.

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