Kobe Bryant: I’m done voicing opinions about Dwight Howard
MIAMI -- The dust certainly didn’t settle after the Lakers eked out a win against the lowly Charlotte Bobcats, not when Dwight Howard’s father injected himself into his son’s awkward relationship with Kobe Bryant.
The elder Howard said his son needed to sit down with Bryant to hash out their differences. He also said Coach Mike D’Antoni wasn’t being assertive enough to handle the situation.
Bryant’s response? Enough already.
“Honestly, I’m done talking about it. There’s nothing to talk about. I’m done with it. There’s nothing to discuss. It’s silly,” he said Saturday.
Then he laughed, knowing the wild story lines that often accompanied the Lakers in his 17 NBA seasons.
“It is what it is,” he said.
Then he continued, talking about the recent ESPNBoston.com report in which he was quoted as saying, “We don’t have time for [Howard’s shoulder] to heal. We need some urgency.”
Bryant, on Saturday, repeated his belief that he wasn’t needling Howard in that story.
“It’s really not that big of a deal. This thing in Boston, they really made something out of nothing,” Bryant said. “There’s nothing I said that was out of the ordinary or that I haven’t said before in talking to him.”
Bryant also said in that story that Howard needs to grasp the Lakers’ tradition: “It’s win a championship or everything is a complete failure. That’s just how [the Lakers] do it. And that’s foreign to him.”
On Saturday, however, Bryant seemed to defend Howard, who has been slowed by a shoulder injury and numbness in his legs after undergoing back surgery last April.
“All year, [media] people have been trying to hang on to stuff. He’s just got to go do his job — just rebound and defend,” Bryant said. “We do our jobs and our roles in what we have to do to help us win. It’s not rocket science.
“He’s doing the best he can. Obviously he’s limited in what he can do for us as opposed to what he was doing when he was in Orlando but he’s still giving it a good effort.”
Howard’s father, Dwight Sr., was critical of the whole Lakers experience in an interview with the Atlanta-Journal Constitution. Dwight Jr. grew up in Atlanta and still has family members there.
“I told him before he said it publicly, ‘It’s your career. No person can say what you need to do or not do. You can’t worry about what Kobe or anybody else says,’ ” Howard’s father told the paper. “Nobody can say what Kobe said -- that’s stepping into another man’s shoes. I understand what Kobe was trying to do, but he went about it the wrong way. He’s trying to win a championship. But Dwight has to tell Kobe, ‘I appreciate your opinion, but that doesn’t matter. We’re two men on this team. We need to be reasonable about this.’ ”
Then the elder Howard’s thoughts turned to D’Antoni, currently 19-22 since joining the Lakers.
“The problem is the coach. [D’Antoni] needs to step in and say, ‘You guys have got to be quiet. We’re trying to secure something here,’ ” Dwight Sr. said. “Dwight is probably looking at the coach, thinking, ‘What are you going to do?’ I think the coach has a lot to do with who controls Kobe’s mouth right now.”
Earlier this week, after Bryant talked about the need for urgency and for Howard to return, Howard wasn’t happy. His simple phrase at the time -- “He’s not a doctor” -- won accolades from his father.
“When he spoke up, he asked me what I thought, and I told him I applaud him for standing up for himself,” Dwight Sr. said. “But I still think he needs to have a sit-down with the coach and Kobe.”
Said Dwight of his father: “My dad is a grown man. That’s how he feels. We’ll leave it at that.”
Howard declined to comment about his father’s belief that he would probably re-sign with the Lakers when free agency began in July.
“I’m not getting into it,” he said.
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