Lakers legend James Worthy will be the analyst on the Lakers next season, expanding a role he had before as Los Angeles moves into its massive new cable deal on Time Warner Cable SportsNet in Southern California.
But while most Lakers fans were ecstatic at getting Dwight Howard, Worthy said he was not that impressed during a conference call with the media about his new gig Thursday. Quotes via the Los Angeles Times.
“I wasn’t a fan of Dwight Howard,” Worthy said … “there was too much conversation.”
“Who said this, I don’t like this coach. To me, that’s nonsense,” Worthy said. “Your job is to come in and play and deal with the situation that’s there.”
Then there was the whole thing where Howard didn’t want to come to Los Angeles at first and basically had to come around to the idea as other options dried up.
“I was a little bit taken back. I think I heard him say … if the Lakers drafted him, he wouldn’t take it,” Worthy said. “I knew that was gibberish.”
No doubt, Howard handled his exit from Orlando about as poorly as he could have. But this is more than that. This is a generational thing, in the same way Charles Barkley and Michael Jordan piling on LeBron James after the decision was in part generational. Things were very different with the media and NBA coverage when Worthy came out of college.
Plus, Worthy was fortunate, drafted on to a championship team already that had Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, not to mention a strong supporting cast. It’s as cushy a landing spot as a No. 1 overall pick has ever had. He didn’t need to find other guys to team up with to win, he walked right into that situation.
To suggest that players in the past didn’t try to force team building is to ignore reality back to Abdul-Jabbar forcing his way out of Milwaukee and back before that. It happened. It just didn’t get the 24/7 coverage of every detail (thanks to blogs like this one) that Howard’s exit did. Our perceptions of everyone — Magic, Worthy, Jordan — would be different if they were under the current media microscope when they played.
But in the end, Worthy is a company man. The Lakers insist upon it with their broadcasters. So when he takes to the air, expect him to talk about what a great addition Howard is — which certainly is true on the court — and how he can be a part of the Lakers family. This will be about as negative as it gets.