Is Kobe Bryant Pushing Right Buttons with Dwight Howard, or Just Being Pushy?

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Is Kobe Bryant Pushing Right Buttons with Dwight Howard, or Just Being Pushy?
Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

For every problem that arises, Kobe Bryant has a remote control with different solutions on the buttons. Sometimes he pushes the right one, and other times, he misfires.

Unfortunately, there isn't a button for solving Dwight Howard's health, which he attempted to do by pushing the "Go to the media" button. In this case, a misfire could ultimately mean a backfire.

The purpose of going to the media is to put the pressure on. By subliminally challenging Howard in public, he's putting the ball in his court in front of a national audience.

If you're not doing something right, Kobe won't let it go unnoticed. He's the type of guy to call you out for passing gas when you're trying to squeak a silent one out at the dinner table. He wants you to fear humiliation by experiencing it.

And most of the time it works. The gas-passer is sure to think twice before releasing next time knowing that Kobe is willing to blow up his spot. 

But Dwight Howard is a different animal, and so is this Lakers' season.

This is a team that lacks chemistry. The Lakers right now have a multiple personality disorder. The coach is relaxed; the leader is intense; the superstar is sensitive; and Metta World Peace is straight up violent.

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

This is the one time where Kobe Bryant needs to stick it back in his pocket. The Lakers can't afford to risk disrupting whatever chemistry they have. I've got no problem with him using the media to challenge a teammate, but the last thing this team needs right now is tension.

Kobe needs to customize his motivational tactics to fit the personality.

During an interview with Jackie MacMullan, Kobe mentioned that the Lakers "don't have time" for Howard's shoulder to heal and it's "something that you have to balance out and manage."

He's got to be careful. Nobody likes a backseat driver telling him where he needs to go and how he needs to get there.

"He's not a doctor," Howard said, referring to Kobe's comments.

Kobe's comments are the type that could drive Howard away emotionally. Dwight isn't Shaquille O'Neal, who was able to take tension and convert it into fuel.

The more Howard gets barked at, the weaker his motor gets.

This is a group that needs to gel together, and that's unlikely to happen if there's an unspoken rift.

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