For NBA players, All-Star weekend is a time to relax from the hectic schedule they endure during a regular season. For players that participate in the festivities, it is a great chance to prove yourself against the NBA’s elite. For Lakers fans, this was the time for stars Kobe Bryant and Dwight Howard to settle their differences and rebuild their relationship in hopes of salvaging their season.
Boy, that last sentence could not be further from the truth.
The NY Post reported that while in Houston: “Howard [was] mocking Bryant behind his back in the locker room,” in front of other players.
Howard “grabbed Kobe’s uniform, put it on, and imitated him in front of all the other players on the West team. He was joking and berating Kobe” to fellow NBA stars, including the Clippers’ Chris Paul and Blake Griffin and Oklahoma City Thunder star Kevin Durant.
Upon entering the locker room, Bryant did not even respond to Howard, but made sure to speak to everyone else that was there.
Bryant later arrived in the locker room, “said hello to everyone on the team except Howard, grabbed his stuff and moved as far away from Howard as he could.”
Before the All-Star break, Bryant expressed his displeasure about his teammates with ESPNLA’s Dave McMenamin. He directly discussed a situation where his ‘teammates’ were laughing after a blowout loss to the Clippers. It seemed then that everyone knew who he was referring to.
“”It’s not a good feeling at all,” Bryant said, the shame of a 125-101 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers hanging over him. Once things got difficult, we need to step up and meet that challenge. I’m not very happy right now, and hopefully my teammates feel the same way.”
The problem is, Bryant seemed to know before those words even left his mouth that his teammates’ minds weren’t in the same head space as his, as he tries desperately to turn this season around.
“After we lose by 20 or 30 points, we definitely can’t be laughing and joking around with a team that just kicked your ass, that’s for sure,” Bryant said…Just focus on how bad you want it and how important this is.”
While in Houston, Bryant was asked for his opinion regarding the rumors about the Lakers trading Dwight.
Bryant said, “It doesn’t matter” what his team does with Howard as the trade deadline approaches.
With the sudden passing of owner Jerry Buss and the Boston Celtics coming to the Staples Center Wednesday, Lakers supporters can only hope the stars will be able to settle their differences. While it may not seem likely, some change will have to occur if they want to salvage this season, and maybe more importantly, keep their new center piece from walking this summer.