Is Kobe Bryant Actually the Reason for the Lakers’ Failure?

Kobe Bryant isn't usually a source of levity, particularly at the eye of a firestorm of chaos and controversy.

But on January 7, that's precisely what the Black Mamba did. The leader of the Los Angeles Lakers tweeted a photo of himself and Dwight Howard mockingly preparing for bare-knuckled fisticuffs in the team's training room, with head coach Mike D'Antoni helpless to intercede.

The mamba vs d12 !! It's on lol…

— Kobe Bryant (@kobebryant) January 7, 2013  

The idea, clearly, was to make light of a recent report by Stefan Bondy and Frank Isola of The New York Daily News. According to their "sources," Bryant and Howard nearly came to blows following LA's loss to the Philadelphia 76ers on New Year's Day.

However, reports from both Jarrod N. Rudolph of RealGM and Ramona Shelburne of indicate that there was no physical altercation between the two superstars and that any rumor to the contrary was little more than baseless hearsay.

Two Lakers sources have adamantly shot down the reported Dwight/Kobe incident. One said, "it's simply not true."

— Ramona Shelburne (@ramonashelburne) January 7, 2013  

Nonetheless, you don't need to be a clinical psychologist to notice that all may not be well between Kobe and Dwight. Howard seemed to take an indirect swipe at Bryant with his comments about the Lakers' lackluster chemistry following a loss to the Los Angeles Clippers on January 4.

Their partnership on the court hasn't exactly been cause for sweet music, either. Their pick-and-rolls have been far from perfect, Bryant's passes are often off-point and Dwight's touches with Kobe on the court have been too few for a player of his size, skill and stature; Howard averages all of 10.2 shots per 36 minutes next to Bryant, per

Not that it's been all bad. According to

About the Author