Jeanie Buss: Kobe Bryant Recommended Lakers' Dwight Howard Signing in 2019

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistMay 23, 2020

Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant (24) and center Dwight Howard (12) walk off the court during a time out in the fourth quarter of an NBA basketball game against the Oklahoma City Thunder in Oklahoma City, Friday, Dec. 7, 2012. Oklahoma City won 114-108.(AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)
Sue Ogrocki/Associated Press

Prior to signing Dwight Howard last August, the Los Angeles Lakers talked to Kobe Bryant about possibly bringing the center back six years after he left the team.

During an appearance on the Daddy Issues with Joe Buck and Oliver Hudson podcast (h/t Harrison Faigen of Silver Screen and Roll), Lakers owner Jeanie Buss said they consulted Bryant before moving forward with Howard.

"I'm nodding my head yes," she said. "I mean, Kobe wanted us to win. He wanted to see the Lakers win, and Kobe came to a couple games, and he was happy to see Dwight and greeted him."

The relationship between Bryant and Howard when they were teammates during the 2012-13 season was frosty to say the least.

In a February 2015 interview with Sam Amick of USA Today, Bryant addressed why he didn't get along with Howard:

"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."

After Howard signed with the Houston Rockets as a free agent, the discontent between the two spilled onto the court during a game in October 2014 when Bryant took exception to the eight-time All-Star appearing to throw an elbow and famously called him "soft" during a timeout.

When DeMarcus Cousins tore his ACL during an offseason workout, the Lakers found themselves in the market for a center.

Howard, who only played nine games with the Washington Wizards in 2018-19, signed a one-year, non-guaranteed deal for the veteran minimum of $2.56 million to return to Los Angeles.

The move has paid off, as Howard has been a key role player off the bench for head coach Frank Vogel. He ranks third on the team with 7.4 rebounds per game and is tied for third with 2.4 defensive win shares.