Phil Jackson says Dwight Howard left Lakers because of Kobe Bryant
This may not be ground-breaking news anymore as most people pegged this to be the reason for Dwight Howard’s departure from the Los Angeles Lakers, but Phil Jackson cleared up any gray area there might have been. The Zen Master, in his new book, states that Howard had no interest coming back to the Lakers once Kobe told him he planned on playing a few more years.
Via New York Daily News:
The Lakers invited Kobe and Steve to the final pitch meeting to help persuade Dwight to come on board. It sounded like a good idea. Steve sent out an amusing tweet before the meeting: “Dwight Howard we’re coming for you. You’re going to love the statue we build for you outside Staples in 20yrs!” And Kobe made a moving speech during the pitch, promising to teach Dwight the secret of winning championships that he’d learned from the best in the game.
If the meeting had ended there, it might have worked. But after the presentation, Dwight asked Kobe what he was planning to do after he recovered from his Achilles injury. Was this going to be his last year? “No,” replied Kobe. “I’m planning to be around for three or four more years.”
At that point, according to others in the room, Dwight’s eyes went blank and he drifted away. In his mind, the game was over.
Kobe Bryant will have his name mentioned among the greats someday and surely of this era, but the fact remains that many players were never fond of playing with him. From the Shaquille O’Neal feud to the Karl Malone incident, Kobe went through the 2000s with drama attached to his name.
Even the Zen Master himself apparently wanted to trade Kobe going so far to say he was “uncoachable.” And, of course, more recently, Kobe Bryant had a “beef” with little-known guard Smush Parker. Kobe Bryant may end as the most polarizing superstar in any generation. But that doesn’t mean everyone has liked him over the years. We can add D12 to that list.