Kobe and Dwight Could End Even Worse Than Kobe and Shaq

During ESPN's broadcast of the Los Angeles Lakers' sixth loss in a row, analyst Jeff Van Gundy commented on the complex relationship between Kobe Bryant and Dwight Howard, and the apparent tension between the two that has dominated the news recently.

Van Gundy was referring to statements that Howard made after an earlier loss to the Clippers, where he appeared to take subtle jabs at Bryant while discussing the merits of team chemistry.

In Ramona Shelburne's article, Howard suggested that one of the issues plaguing the Lakers right now is that they really don't enjoy each other's company off the court. He even went further to call into question a certain teammate's leadership skills.

Howard never mentioned Bryant by name, but it wasn't hard to guess who he was referring to when the conversation veered toward alpha males and the best ways to show your team you are truly a leader.

Bryant is as alpha as they come, and the story only grew worse from there when reports surfaced that Howard had to be restrained from physically confronting Bryant after another loss to the Philadelphia 76ers on New Year's Day.

According to the New York Daily News, Howard was upset after Bryant referenced and agreed with statements made by Shaquille O'Neal that criticized Howard for being soft. 

The Lakers have since refuted those claims, and it does seem strange that a news outlet nearly 3,000 miles away from the source was the first to break the story.

However, no number of tweets from Bryant playfully fighting with Howard will hide the fact there is a fissure that exists between the two players, and unlike Kobe and Shaq's days, the issue only gets worse when Howard and Bryant are on the court.

Kobe and Shaq's off-court relationship may have been rocky, but on the court they were perfect complements for each other. And it didn't hurt that they were each at the top of their games.

Article Source: Bleacher Report - Los Angeles Lakers