The 2012-13 Los Angeles Lakers were painful proof that forming an NBA superteam isn't a breeze, and one veteran recently admitted that Dwight Howard's jovial demeanor didn't sit well with him at first.
Metta World Peace, who is an entertaining personality in his own right, told Michael Cooper and Lisa Leslie of L.A.'s ABC 7 that the big man's jesting and lighthearted character bugged him early in the season.
On the Sports Zone postgame show, he was asked whether Dwight's approach bothered him (via Phillip Barnett of Lakers Nation):
At first it did. When I first met Dwight in our first practices together and our first games in the regular season I was like, ‘he’s joking a little bit too much.’ But then I decided not to judge people and I decided to work with my teammates — so as I got into more games with Dwight — I did see him working really hard, blocking shots, playing with a back injury, but he was still playing hard. So then I said, ‘you know what, we just have to work with what we have.’ But at first, it was a little bit frustrating.”
World Peace has been known to crack a few jokes himself, and he's good for the occasional bizarre sound bite, but when it comes to preparation and in-game attitude, he's pretty darn serious.
Howard, on the other hand, has made a habit of pregame giggles and in-game grins, even if he does play hard.
It seems like it didn't take long for Metta to realize Dwight works extremely hard physically and shows he can play through injury. When players see firsthand the rigors Howard puts himself through, they realize he's more than a high-jumping comedian.
We all knew it was an adjustment for Kobe Bryant to work with the ebullient Howard. But World Peace's stance on the subject was somewhat unknown, because he's not an easy guy to read.
It's tough for almost any serious NBA player to understand how Howard can be so outwardly cheerful while playing for one of the most pressure-packed franchises in pro sports.
It's tough for many championship-hungry fans, too. Howard's mile-wide grin struggled to win over many fans and media in Lakers Land, as they were only interested in how much he could help Kobe.
From a locker-room perspective, World Peace's comments are reassuring for the future. Fans know that Dwight's teammates respect his work ethic and are willing to go to battle with him.
One thing's for sure: Howard's joking won't bother anyone if he can raise a banner in Staples Center. Whether he decides to stick around to do so is an entirely different matter.
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