Why Kobe Bryant Will Alter Dwight Howard’s Public Image in 2012-13

It's nearly a yearly occurrence in today's NBA. Somebody does something to piss of their hometown fans (or soon to be former hometown fans), the rest of the league sympathizes and they instantly become persona non grata in the NBA. 

Fans everywhere will become incredibly disenchanted with the player in question and their public image is shot to hell.

In case anyone out there was still questioning whether or not Dwight Howard was going to fit that bill this season, Dwight Howard's return to Orlando probably won't be accompanied by horns blowing and flowers being tossed. Instead he'll see the roughest homecoming since LeBron James came back to Cleveland for the first time.

One thing that Howard can take advantage of now that he's moved to L.A. and shares a locker room with the rest of the Lakers is that he's got a teammate who was once in the same position that he's in.

Kobe Bryant's unpopularity reached a nadir after he was accused of sexual assault back in 2003, leading to a months-long trial that dragged through the 2003-04 season forcing Kobe to go back and forth between Colorado and California during the basketball season.

Thankfully for Howard, his predicament is nowhere near as bad as Kobe's. He's facing a public shunning whereas Kobe was facing serious jail time, which would have potentially ended his career far short of what was expected.

Even though the cases are completely different, what Kobe did following the case is going to be what Howard needs to do following his unceremonious departure from Orlando.

Kobe made some drastic changes, from changing his number to almost completely closing himself off from the media. Basically what he did was ignore most outside influences and just played basketball. And you know what? That's probably the best way to go about repairing a damaged image.

Take a look at how LeBron's image started to be repaired. I...

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