When Los Angeles Lakers superstar Kobe Bryant met Dwight Howard on Tuesday to convince him to stay in Los Angeles, he did not grovel or beg Howard to remain with the team.
Instead, one the game’s all-time great competitors challenged him instead, reportedly telling Howard he needed to learn how to be a winner.
“You need to learn how it’s done first, and I can teach you here,” Bryant reportedly said, according to witness accounts to Yahoo! Sports. “I know how to do it and I’ve learned from the best – players who have won multiple times over and over.”
The center has been known for his immaturity. Many have said, like they did about Bryant, Howard could have used a year of seasoning in college in order to be a better leader. In Bryant’s early years with the team, teammates described him as an aloof loner, but Bryant, in recent years, has taught himself to be a leader.
Laker fans were outraged when the franchise put up banners and signs to court Howard last because Lakerfans believe it is an honor and a privilege to play for the organization that ushered in “Showtime.”
Bryant’s words to Howard restored order, letting Howard know that it is a privilege to put on the Lakers uniform.
“Instead of trying to do things your way, just listen and learn and tweak it, so it fits you,” Bryant said. “You have to learn how it’s done.”
Howard is reportedly deciding between staying in Los Angeles and going to Houston.
Should Howard come back to Los Angeles, he would be the centerpiece for the team until Bryant fully returns form his Achilles surgery. If Howard does not come back to Los Angeles, it may be in Los Angeles’s best interest to save salary cap room and play out next season with the roster that they have — and not rush Bryant, who recently said he had at least three great years left in them.
The Lakers could have a wretched season and see the Clippers become the city’s marquee franchise for a year. But that would also assure them of being frontrunners in the Andrew Wiggins sweepstakes in the 2014 Draft.