Kobe Bryant was in attendance at Staples Center for the game and embraced his former teammate courtside. It was a head-turning development for far more than just Lakers royalty interacting with a current member of the team.
For his part, Howard was focused on the "positive vibes":
Howard and Bryant were teammates on the Purple and Gold for the 2012-13 season that started with championship expectations and ended with a first-round flameout. Los Angeles was swept in the opening round of the playoffs by the San Antonio Spurs despite the presence of Bryant, Howard, Pau Gasol and Steve Nash, but it was the tension between the first two that dominated headlines.
In a 2015 interview with Sam Amick of USA Today, Bryant said he didn't think Howard was up for the challenge of competing for a title:
"I tried teaching Dwight. I tried showing him. But the reality is that when you have a perception of what it is to win a championship—and most perceptions of what it's like to win are a very outgoing, very gregarious locker room where you pick each other up and you're friends all the time. That's the perception. And I think that's what his perception was of what the idea is. But when he saw the reality of it, it made him uncomfortable. And it's very tough to be able to fight through that, to deal with that challenge. And I don't think he was willing to deal with that uncomfortable and combative nature."
Bryant also famously called Howard soft during a dust-up when the big man was on the Houston Rockets after they were teammates and appeared to make fun of him during a Twitter back-and-forth with Shaquille O'Neal.
All that may be in the past now, though, given Sunday's embrace.