Posted February 10, 2013

Dwight Howard’s father criticizes Kobe Bryant and Mike D’Antoni

Ben Golliver, Dwight Howard, Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles Lakers, Mike D'Antoni
Dwight Howard returned from injury to play the Celtics this week. (Andrew D. Bernstein/Getty Images)

Dwight Howard returned from injury to play the Celtics this week. (Andrew D. Bernstein/Getty Images)

By Ben Golliver

As if one Dwight Howard wasn’t causing enough headaches for the Lakers, a second Dwight Howard has briefly moved to center stage in the never-ending Tinseltown drama.

Dwight Howard, Sr. defended his son in an interview with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, saying that Lakers guard Kobe Bryant was wrong to pressure Dwight Jr. to play with a shoulder injury and criticizing coach Mike D’Antoni for not intervening.

“I told him before he said it publicly, ‘It’s your career. No person can say what you need to do or not do. You can’t worry about what Kobe or anybody else says,’” the elder Howard said. “Nobody can say what Kobe said — that’s stepping into another man’s shoes. I understand what Kobe was trying to do, but he went about it the wrong way. He’s trying to win a championship. But Dwight has to tell Kobe, ‘I appreciate your opinion, but that doesn’t matter. We’re two men on this team. We need to be reasonable about this.’”

Dwight Sr. said he believed Bryant was trying to motivate his son, but that the advice was misplaced, adding: “The problem is the coach. (D’Antoni) needs to step in and say, ‘You guys have got to be quiet. We’re trying to secure something here. Dwight is probably looking at the coach, thinking, ‘What are you going to do?’ I promise, if that had been Stan Van Gundy, that wouldn’t have happened. (Howard) wouldn’t have been admonished publicly. I think the coach has a lot to do with who controls Kobe’s mouth right now.”

Howard recently missed three games with a right shoulder injury. Earlier this week, Bryant said the Lakers “don’t have time” for the injury to heal and that “some urgency” was needed. Bryant later said that he wasn’t intentionally trying to prod Howard to play through an injury.

Following Bryant’s comments, Howard returned to the court for games against the Celtics and Bobcats. He did so after responding to Bryant’s comments by saying, “He’s not a doctor, I’m not a doctor,” and that, “This is my career, this is my future, this is my life.”

The Los Angeles Daily News reported Saturday that the Lakers did their best to brush off Dwight Sr.’s comments.

“That’s cool,” D’Antoni said. “He’s his father. He should defend his son. But I thought we had that in Memphis. We’re good.”

“I don’t want to get into it,” Howard said. “My dad is a grown man. That’s how he feels. We’ll leave it at that.”

“It’s really not that big of a deal,” Bryant said. “In Boston, they made something out of nothing. There wasn’t anything I said that was out of the ordinary or nothing I said before talking to him. They made a really big deal out of something that is really nothing.”

Note: D’Antoni’s reference to Memphis concerned a team meeting in which Bryant, Howard and company reportedly discussed any underlying issues.

It must be exceedingly difficult for Dwight Sr. to watch his son catch grief from all sides month after month, year after year. The paternal, protective instinct doesn’t magically go away just because his son happens to be a giant of a man making millions of dollars. Dwight Sr. probably felt like Bryant was bullying his son into a bad decision that sacrificed the long-term in favor of the short-term and he probably felt like D’Antoni owed it to his players to protect them from each other. His son has played through pain all season long and has been one of the NBA’s most durable superstars during his career. Dwight Sr. surely understands his son’s commitment to the game better than most outsiders and likely realizes his son doesn’t have anyone else standing up for him these days.

That said, this isn’t AAU basketball where whatever a star player’s father thinks carries a lot of weight. This is the NBA, where as Bryant stated earlier this week, the only thing that matters is winning and where players will be pushed harder than they’ve ever been pushed to make winning a reality. Howard probably feels like the whole world is against him right now, but it’s his responsibility to let Dwight Sr. know that comments like these won’t win him any friends or sympathizers.

In fact, Dwight Sr. has done more harm than good by confirming an apparent divide between Howard and others in the Lakers locker room at a time when the team should be pulling together to make a united, albeit somewhat desperate, push for the playoffs. The fact that Dwight Sr. spoke up also unintentionally reinforced some of the negative perceptions that Dwight Jr. can’t shake: that he’s indecisive, overly goofy and afraid of commitment. Behind each of those criticisms lies a root cause — a lack of maturity — and here Howard’s father is appearing to fight his battles for him.

Frankly, his father’s intervention is probably a little embarrassing for Howard, or at least it should have been.

13 comments
WilliamSmith1
WilliamSmith1

kobe is not a Magic Johnson,Larry Bird, MJ, Bob Mcadoo, Nate Archibald and more,,,these guy's carry their teams,,and they did it with out crying about a team mate when one of them went down .............(players and coaches only)

eddiej
eddiej

This man and mantei taeo's dad are some of the reason that their sons will never get far in life They won't let them handle their own "problems and be the men they think they are.They think because they make or are going to make lot of $$$ that they need protection from the bad that is said about them.Let them grow up and handle their business on their own.

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Family needs a big dose of STFU

XLNT
XLNT

Many have blamed the media for promoting all this drama, but it's their job to do so. The principals involved (In this case: Dwight, his father, Kobe, D'Antoni) simply need to shed their egos and say "No comment" when someone comes to them looking for a headline.

jahmeel
jahmeel

The father is right in what he said!!! I dont think any less of Dwight of what his father said, kobe should had made the comment to howard and hs teamates instead of to the whole dam world!!! What happens in veagus stays in veagus, what happens with the family stays with the family, and a team is a family!!!     

l.czolgosz66
l.czolgosz66

Nobody is likable in this drama. Kobe is a punk that feels he has the right to trash any of his teammates, but will not tolerate an ounce of criticism when it is directed at him. Howard is a classic cancer. He is all about himself, always has been. Good stats guy, but not a good teammate. In the end all this drama means nothing, because these geezers do not match up with teams like the Thunder and the Grizz.

Redfish1
Redfish1

Who is running the show? If Pop was coach he would sit Howard until Pop says he is ready to play and tell Bryan to shut the Hell up and go sit on the end of the bench until Pop thinks he can be a good little boy and you know he would do it. Pop is not intimidated by anyone in this league.  This is the difference in how the best sports franchise is run (Spurs) and one (Lakers) - who I don't care how many titles they have or net worth, makes fools out of themselves on a daily basis. Not just the loses, but the way they disrespect themselves, the team, the city of L.A. and their fans everywhere. I bet privately Howard and Nash is thinking to themselves - how did I make such a huge mistake in signing with these bozos, I could have played anywhere - Spurs, Thunder, Chicago, Knicks, Clippers. On any of these teams they could have played a vital role with class organizations that had a real shot at a championship.

Papi Del Negro..... Dont ask
Papi Del Negro..... Dont ask

Now daddy Howard has to chime in to save face for his spineless son..lol.. Man I'm glad Orlando doesn't have this headache anymore

jrhepler
jrhepler

 @jahmeel I agree, what happens in veagus definitely stays in veagus. We don't need people talking about the soy milk and tofu parties that are going down in Las Veagus. For those of you who don't know, my friend jahmeel is referring to the vegan paradise in Oregon where hippies commune, not the sinful place in a Nevada desert. 

RafalPruszyn-ski
RafalPruszyn-ski

@Redfish1 The best organization is by far the Lakers. You cannot say that the Spurs are the ebst organization and dismiss pretty much the only metric that counts: championships. Lakers have the Spurs beat by a big, big margin here, you know it, the whole world knows it. Howard has not signed with the Lakers. He is a free agent at the end of the season, yet another pretty commonly well known fact that has escaped you. He can still go anywhere he wants and believe me, most Laker fans would not be too sad at this point to see him go. He has been a massive disappointment especially when it comes to his attitude. We thought this guy can be the next Kobe, the next leader and cornerstone of the franchise, but its obvious he does not have the balls or toughness to handle that job the way Kobe has done for the last decade.

WilliamSmith1
WilliamSmith1

 @Redfish1

 I was thinking the same about Howard and Nash,,,,,,,that was a good one....hahahahahahahahaha................(players and coaces only)