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Dwight Howard: Kobe never offered to teach me how to be a champion

Jul 6, 2013, 9:30 AM EST

Kobe Bryant, Dwight Howard

  Remember when Kobe Bryant tried to get Dwight Howard to stay in Los Angeles by telling him, “Let me teach you how to be a champion”?

Never happened, Howard says.

Howard in a Q&A with Alex Kennedy of Hoops World:

What did you think of Kobe Bryant’s comments that he could teach you how to be a winner?

DH: “He didn’t say anything of that sort. People twisted a lot of stuff that he said. But in my personal opinion, I’m a winner. I’m a winner because I’ve been playing for nine years when the average career for an NBA player is three years. I’m a winner because I made it to the NBA from a small school in Atlanta, GA, with 16 people in a class. I’m a winner because I’m succeeding in life. I’ve had problems and I’m not better than the next man, but I’m going to push myself to be a winner when it comes to winning a championship. But he didn’t say anything like that and a lot of people twisted what he did say.”

There are many ingredients necessary to become an NBA champion.

One is an incredible drive, often becoming a willingness to let basketball come before everything else in your life. Kobe has that skill – maybe even too much of it – but, without a doubt, he has it. (Whether he can actually teach it to Howard is a whole other question.)

But talent is also necessary, and no matter how much teaching Kobe would have done, the Lakers don’t have enough talent. Kobe is old and injured, Pau Gasol is old and Steve Nash is even older. Not to detract from how great those players once were, but this was no longer a championship-caliber team.

The Rockets have the talent to win a championship, or at least come close. There’s no guarantee they’ll learn how to harness it in the playoffs’ toughest moments, but Houston coach Kevin McHale might be capable of teaching the young team how to do it.

I’d rather bank on learning how to be a champion than learning how to be insanely talented. Apparently, Howard agrees.

126 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. qsnavior - Jul 6, 2013 at 9:10 PM

    Never said anything about being a champion eh… Lead by example maybe? Have heart? Class? Determination? No words necessary imo.

  2. justforkicks2006 - Jul 7, 2013 at 12:48 AM

    Fg percentage is overrated. You have to be willing to take “the shot”. The good and bad of it. And Kobe did. Lebron didn’t against Diaw but we applaud him cuz he’s nice lol. I want to guy who can live with making it and missing it.

    • sportsfan18 - Jul 7, 2013 at 3:06 PM

      Yeah, FG% is overrated. Teams only get about 81 shots a game. I’m glad Kobe could live with missing his shots, especially in the NBA finals. Here is his shooting percentages in the NBA finals.

      2000 finals. He shot 37% Shaqfu shot 61%
      2001 finals. He shot 42% Shaqfu shot 57%
      2002 finals. He shot 51% Shaqfu shot 59%
      2004 finals. He shot 38% Shaqfu shot 63%

      Sorry, gotta interject a bit more here. In the 2004 finals, which the Lakers lost, only winning one game. Kobe, while only shooting 38%, took 113 field goal attempts. Shaq, while shooting 63% from the field, only took 84 shots. Shaq made 53 field goals in the series on his 84 shots. Kobe only made 43 shots on his 113 attempts. I guess poor Shaq would have had to take the ball up the court to get more shots because the ball hog didn’t get it into him.

      2008 finals. He shot 41%
      2009 finals. He shot 42%
      2010 finals. He shot 41%

      Kobe total NBA finals shooting percentage 41%

      Jordan total NBA finals shooting percentage. 48%
      LeBron total NBA finals shooting percentage 43%

      Magic’s total NBA finals shooting percentage 52%

      Jerry West NBA finals shooting percentage 46%

      • Kurt Helin - Jul 7, 2013 at 3:23 PM

        I will say a more accurate stat is eFG% (which includes a bump for three pointers) or better yet true shooting percentage, which is really points per shot attempt and includes threes and fouls drawn. For example, to compare West and Kobe is flawed because Kobe could shoot 39 percent from three and generate more points than West at 46 percent.

      • sportsfan18 - Jul 7, 2013 at 4:36 PM

        Kurt

        You are right and I like all the advanced stats. I don’t know if I can find them for the finals but I do know, via basketball reference dot com, that Kobe is currently the 130th ranked shooter via true shooting percentage for all time.

        I really like true shooting percentage. Here are where some big names (and one or two small names rank all time via true shooting percentage currently).

        Magic is 9th
        John Stockton is 10th
        Nash is 13th
        Dwight is 17th
        Chris Mullen 23rd
        Durant is 25th
        Kareem is 26th
        Ginobili is 30th
        Shaq is 35th
        Ray Allen is 48th
        LeBron is 58th
        Chris Paul is 59th
        Pau Gasol is 61st
        Robert Parish is 69th
        Chris Bosh is 70th
        Moses Malone is 72nd
        Jordan is 73rd
        Paul Pierce is 74th
        Dwayne Wade is 79th
        Larry Bird is 90th
        Oscar Robertson is 91st
        Shane Battier is 103rd
        Dr. J is 115th
        Christian Laettner is 121st

        Kobe Bryant is 130th
        Carmelo Anthony is 199th

        So to be ranked 130th in true shooting percentage and take so many more shots when you played with centers like Shaq who is 35th all time in true shooting percentage and Dwight who is currently 17th in true shooting percentage doesn’t make sense to me.

        Kobe was tied with Eric Gordon in 191 st place in 3 pt shooting at .324% this past season (all shooters, not just those qualified).

        While Kobe was only in 191st place in 3 pt shooting percentage, he took the 19th most 3 pt attempts this past season, as he took 407 3 pt shots.

        You’re right, Kobe could shoot 39% from 3 pt range, except that he never has. His career 3 pt shooting percentage is .336%.

        He did shoot .375% from 3 pt in his first season on not all that many shot attempts.

        He did shoot .383 in the 02/03 season, his best ever and then shot .327 from 3 pt range the next yr.

        He did have an OK stretch shooting from 3 pt range from 05/06 through 08/09 as he was around 35% for those seasons.

        Kobe’s last four seasons 3 pt shooting percentages are as follows:

        .329 09/10
        .323 10/11
        .303 11/12
        .324 this past season

        Based on his 130th all time position in true shooting percentage, he shouldn’t take double the shots when he’s had centers who rank 17th currently and 35th all time in true shooting percentage.

        I still can’t believe Kobe shot so much more than Shaq in the 2004 finals when Shaq shot 63% to Kobe’s 38%.

      • batyrn - Jul 8, 2013 at 11:12 AM

        When analyzing any type of FG to improve comparability one needs to make an adjustment per position. For example, big men as a rule have a higher FG, because they are so much closer to the basket. Perimeter players have a lower FG, consequently. So, it’s more reasonable to compare Kobe to Durant and LeBron than to Shaq and Dwight. The latter group were actually the beneficiaries of Kobe’s perimeter game.

  3. fmmoreno - Jul 8, 2013 at 10:54 PM

    Stats is not always that plausible. In fact, the score is more important than anything else. You could rebound 50 in a game 20 in another or average 20 a game & contribute massive points in every game yet can still lost the game. Any basketball player that score points in a lot of ways is everyone’s favorite…

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