“I baptized Dwight Howard”: Kobe Bryant revealed that his poster over the future Lakers center turned him into a defensive player

Samir Mehdi
|Published January 13, 2022

Kobe Bryant talked about his dunk over Magic center, Dwight Howard, in 2004 and said that it was a form of baptism. 

Kobe Bryant had a bevy of dunks throughout his career that made it seem as though he truly was the second coming of Michael Jordan. ‘Buckle up, for Kobe Bryant,’ as said by Kevin Harlan, resulted in one of the greatest and yet, most underrated in game dunks in the past 25 years as ‘Bean’ sucked the gravity out of the Target Center. 

The aforementioned dunk is one of 100s that Kobe indulged in throughout his 20 year career with the Los Angeles Lakers. One that is usually talked about however, is the poster he had over his future teammate, Dwight Howard. 

Dwight Howard came into the NBA in 2004 as a dominant force in the paint on both ends of the floor. He registered a whopping 136 blocks in merely his rookie season and showed flashes of becoming a DPOY in the future; which he did.

Also read: “Coldest player of the game, ‘RUSSELL WESTBROOK”‘: Sacramento Kings mock the Lakers point guard as he goes 0/5 from the 3-point line in a 9-point defeat

However, even a soon-to-be 3x Defensive Player of the Year couldn’t stop Kobe Bryant from getting to his spot inside of the paint. 

Kobe Bryant on his dunk over Dwight Howard in 2004. 

In merely his 6th game as a professional in the NBA, Dwight Howard was on the receiving end of one of the filthiest posters in the history of the league. The visiting Lakers featured a Kobe Bryant in his first season without Shaquille O’Neal and so it was clear from the get-go that he was looking to be the man this year onwards.

Also read: “I’mma give Kyrie Irving the shot!”: James Harden replies hilariously when asked if Uncle Drew would play home games for the Brooklyn Nets

Kobe split a screen set by Lamar Odom and detonated on Dwight in the 3rd quarter, leading to one of the best posters we’ve ever seen. 

Following the game, Bryant was asked about the dunk he had over Howard. He started off by praising the youngster but would go on to say: 

“Strongest guy I’ve ever played against. That guy is really really strong and very athletic. It was fun playing with him (for Team USA that summer). I baptized him. I turned him into a defensive player.” 

Share this article

About the author

Samir Mehdi

Samir Mehdi

Samir Mehdi is a senior strategist for the NBA division at The Sportsrush. Ever since he was 13 years old, he’s been obsessed with the game of basketball. From watching Kobe Bryant’s highlights on YouTube to now, analyzing and breaking down every single game on League Pass, Samir’s passion for the game is unwavering. He's a complete basketball junkie who not only breaks down current games but also keenly watches ones from the 60s’ and 70s’ while also reading comprehensive books on the history of the league. Samir’s life revolves around basketball and he hopes that shows in his work. Aside from work, he loves to spend time in the gym and with his friends at social gatherings.

Read more from Samir Mehdi