What Kobe Bryant’s “Defense” of Dwight Howard Says About Lakers Relationship

If you don't have anything nice to say about Dwight Howard, don't say anything to Kobe Bryant.

He isn't in the mood.

Or, at the very least, he's willing to say whatever he needs to in order to defend his new teammate and heir to the Laker throne. After all, he really doesn't have a choice in the matter. If this is still Kobe's team—and he assures us it is—then he's also the guy who stands between his team and those who have something to say about it.

Needless to say, plenty has been said about Dwight Howard. Given the Lakers' protracted flirtation with the notion of acquiring Howard, Kobe's probably been hearing what's been said for some time now.

He certainly seems familiar enough with the grievances directed Howard's way—namely that he's not a serious enough competitor and that he mishandled his exit from the Orlando Magic.

Bryant rejects both charges and does so with the eloquence we've come to expect from one of the league's most cerebral and media-savvy personalities. And his argument's a good one, for the most part anyway.

To the point that Howard is too carefree, Bryant reminds us of those three Defensive Player of the Year awards, and with respect to claims that Howard was disloyal, the Lakers icon had even more to say (via CBS Sports' Ken Berger):

"There's a lot of double standards going on in professional sports, and basketball in particular. Because when it's a player's opportunity to make a business decision, they pull out the loyalty card. When it's ownership's or management's turn to make a business decision, it's a business decision."

On face, Bryant's position seems like an unassailable one, and that's because to a large extent it is.

The problem isn't that Kobe's wrong; he's just right about the wrong thing. This was never a question of loyalty, at least not loyalty alone. It was about the way Howard went about leaving mor...

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