LA Lakers legend Kobe Bryant once called former teammate Dwight Howard a ‘teddy bear’ after he was elbowed by the big man when Howard was a member of the Houston Rockets.
Both Dwight Howard and Kobe Bryant were two of the most dominant forces in the NBA in the 2000s. While Dwight was a physical specimen and beat you with sheer athleticism, the Black Mamba did so with a bit more class and finesse. So, when the duo teamed up together in LA in 2012, expectations were sky high and many even believed it was the second coming of Shaq and Kobe.
7 years ago today, Dwight Howard was traded to the Lakers.
Kobe’s reaction to Dwight coming to and leaving LA… pic.twitter.com/Utp4KYuc8B
— Ballislife.com (@Ballislife) August 10, 2019
However, that was the farthest from the truth. During his lone season with the Purple and Gold, Howard finished the season with a respectable 45-37 record before getting destroyed by the Spurs in the very first round. One of the main reasons for their underwhelming seasons was the constant tension between Kobe and Dwight.
And it all blew over a few years later in 2014, in a game between the Houston and Lakers where Howard was part of the Rockets. So, what exactly happened? Read on to find out…
Kobe Bryant calls Dwight Howard a ‘teddy bear’ after getting elbowed by the former DPOY.
Both Kobe Bryant and Dwight Howard were pretty open about their troubled relationship. In fact, Howard even revealed there was a point where he despised the Lakers legend. However, the rivalry went to new heights in 2014, when Dwight elbowed Kobe during a Lakers-Rockets game after grabbing a defensive rebound. Just check out the play in question here:
After the game, Kobe was asked about the whole fiasco. The Black Mamba goes on to say –
“You can’t help but like him, he’s a teddy bear. I really mean that. He is a really nice kid. But you know me. When you’re competing and you have a goal in mind, I know one way to get there and there’s certain times you don’t see eye to eye. That wasn’t one of those situations. He elbowed me in the face, you know I am going to let him know I don’t like that. It’s that simple.”
While on the face of it, it looks like Kobe is praising Dwight, it really is his way of calling the big man ‘soft’, just like a teddy bear. Coupled with the fact that he called him ‘soft’ during the fight, everyone knew what Kobe meant in the press conference. However, Dwight had the last laugh on the night, as they beat the Lakers 108-90 in the season opener.