Just when we thought the drama surrounding Dwight Howard hit its climax when he was traded out of Orlando and into a Lakers uniform, the circus just won’t leave town yet. Now, Dwight’s father, Dwight Howard Sr., gave an interview to Jeff Schultz of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution regarding the current episode featuring the so-called Kobe Bryant/Mike D’Antoni versus Dwight showdown regarding playing through his pain.
According to Schultz, Howard Sr. offered the following advice to his son:
“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’s father clarified that he believes that Kobe’s intention of the so-called call out that he gave to Howard was to motivate his son, but added:
“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.”
Dwight Sr. went on to discuss how the pressure to play while hurt had worn on Dwight, causing him to eventually speak up for himself, which occurred before the Boston game on Thursday.
“When he spoke up, he asked me what I thought, and I told him I applaud him for standing up for himself,” Dwight Sr. said. “But I still think he needs to have a sit down with the coach and Kobe.” “L.A. has been like humble pie for him,” he said. “When you go from being the man in one city (Orlando) to second or third tier, it takes a toll on you mentally.”
Dwight Sr. added that he believes that his son will in fact re-sign with the Lakers in the offseason.
At practice today, Dwight’s father’s interview came up frequently by the press. Kobe Bryant and Mike D’Antoni quickly shot down the notion that there needs to be a meeting between them and Dwight, as his father urged in the interview. Kobe Bryant said:
“Honestly, I’m done talking about it,” Bryant said. “There’s nothing to talk about it. There’s nothing to discuss. It’s silly.”
While Mike D’Antoni offered a similar sentiment:
“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.”
As for Dwight, he tried to distance himself from the comments made by his father, but appreciated the fatherly support, saying:
“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…That’s what’s he’s supposed to do, support his kid,” Howard said of his father’s comments. “He’s going to do the best at that.”
Despite the drama of the Lakers, the team must figure out a way to block it out and play the game of basketball. With the Lakers still out of playoff contention, they can’t afford to let all the media or personal drama interfere with their current goal and their progress as a team.