Kobe Bryant discussed the Lakers with ESPN’s Colin Cowherd on Wednesday morning. One of the topics that came up was if Dwight Howard could handle Kobe’s criticism. We got a little bit more than that. Here’s the transcription to that part of the interview.
COLIN COWHERD: Dwight was the guy in Orlando. Young players don’t like to be criticized. You have always been a straight shooter. How concerned are you that some of your criticism of Dwight… you know, Pau can handle it! But it may not sit well with Dwight.
KOBE BRYANT: It’s a balance. I talk to him quite a bit. It’s kind of in my mind’s eye whether I’m pushing him a little too much. But to his credit, he said coming in here, “Listen, I know you’re going to be hard. I know you’re going to push me. That’s what I want. I want to have that to get to the next level.” So that’s what I’m going to do.
That’s good to know that Dwight Howard seems to be willing to take all the hits from Kobe. I mean, if there is an NBA player younger players can learn from, it would be Kobe Bryant, who had basically seen it all in his 17-year NBA career.
Dwight Howard is known to be a sensitive guy and a happy-go-lucky type, which is quite the opposite from alpha male Kobe Bryant. Critics have opined in the past that Dwight would never get to that championship level if he “smiled” all the time. While I have no problem with happy-go-lucky types, it does take a bit of bite and killer instinct to get to that championship level. Kobe Bryant has proven that over the years with his five rings. Tim Duncan, who people charge as “boring”, has that killer instinct, no matter how stoic he may be. LeBron James found that focus and killer’s mentality last season when he won with the Heat and Dirk Nowitzki found that zone himself when he and the Mavericks won the title in 2011. Even the non-stars like Derek Fisher has that thinking. While Kobe has won five rings, take a look at all the big shots Fisher has hit over his career. Killer instinct.
And that may be the only thing missing from Dwight Howard when he’s healthy. Hopefully, all the teachings from Kobe will help Dwight find that mentality.
Meanwhile, let’s hope Dwight Howard recovers very soon as he is still clearly not 100 percent healthy.