"The one thing that I really hated was just hearing people say that I was a cancer in the locker room or I'm not good to have around teammates," Howard said. "It really affected me for a while."
When Bensinger asked how the assertions affected him, Howard continued.
"Because it's not me," Howard said. He then cited winning Teammate of the Year with the Atlanta Hawks in 2016-17, noting how earning that honor didn't jibe with reports about relationships with his teammates.
Those stories have surfaced over the years, and Rodger Sherman of The Ringer outlined a few of them.
ESPN.com's Zach Lowe (h/t Dime Magazine's Jamie Cooper) said on his podcast that he heard reports of "Hawks players learning about the trade and screaming with jubilation into their phones" when the Hawks dealt Howard to Charlotte in 2017.
Regardless of what did or didn't happen or how his ex-teammates perceive him, Howard has a second chance with the Lakers, with whom he played a single season (2012-13). L.A. became an instant championship contender when it acquired six-time All-Star big man Anthony Davis from the New Orleans Pelicans this offseason.