Dwight Howard realizes that he hasn’t had the initial success expected when he was traded to the Los Angeles Lakers, but he believes some of the criticism he’s endured during his tenure with the franchise is unwarranted.
In an exclusive interview with CBSLA.com’s Kristine Leahy, the superstar center opened up about how he feels about his public perception, spoke on his relationship with Kobe Bryant, revealed his thoughts on the Orlando Magic and much more.
D12 believes that he’s been unfairly portrayed as a “coach killer” and person who “doesn’t really love basketball,” but said he’s not going to go out and defend every single negative story that comes out concerning him.
Howard did defend his “goofy” personality by saying that is who he is and how he has been since he was a child, and if he wasn’t doing something right he wouldn’t have made it to the NBA.
The big man contrasted his demeanor to that of teammate Kobe Bryant, stating that just because he doesn’t scowl or appear hyper-competitive doesn’t mean he isn’t looking to win every game or compete for a championship.
Dwight cited an example of his time with the Orlando Magic, admitting that it was a team full of players “nobody wanted,” but he led them with a smile on his face.
When asked what “rock bottom” was, the star spoke on how he heard opinions about how he faked his back injury toward the end of the 2011-12 season and how he wasn’t a tough enough competitor.
In the second portion of Leahy’s interview, she inquired about a recent Adidas spot featuring D12 in full Lakers garb and stating that he is all-in for L.A.
She pressed on what this means for the center’s future, but he would only confirm that he’s here to do what the organization brought him in for—win a championship.
Howard went on to answer some questions about his complicated relationship in the media with the Black Mamba, saying most of the stories leaked to the press aren’t true.
Superman flat-out denied that he and Bryant ever fought and made it clear that the two have never come to blows or even shouted at one another.
What will Howard do in free agency?
At the conclusion of the interview, Dwight noted that there’s still a chance he could walk away in free agency—mentioning that, ultimately, it is his career and he has to do what is best for himself.
This candid discussion certainly sheds new light on Howard as a person and player, and it should give Lakers fans plenty to discuss with the team still fighting to make the playoffs.