If there’s one thing we’ve learned about Dwight Howard the person through his last season in Orlando and during his ill-fated stint with the Lakers, it’s that he’s extremely sensitive to anything that can be perceived as negative that’s being said about him, in virtually any context.
Howard has been working out with Hakeem Olajuwon since joining the Rockets this summer, and Olajuwon at one point described Howard as still being a “very raw” talent.
That probably didn’t go over so well with Howard, despite Olajuwon, now a team employee in Houston, having no ill intent by delivering those comments.
Nevertheless, we can’t have the ultra-sensitive Howard being unhappy in Houston before he even plays his first regular season game there, so Olajuwon publicly went ahead and backpedaled from his initial assessment.
During the interview with FOX 26 Sports Olajuwon took time out to “correct” quotes that were recently attributed to him in a story where he reportedly said Howard is “raw.”
“That was insulting,” Olajuwon said. “The guy’s been in the league for 10 years. Every time I work with him, I see him train, I’m more impressed to see how much talent and how far he can take it.
“So how can you say that kind of player is raw. I was very upset because that was insulting to me and to Dwight.”
It’s unclear whether Olajuwon is upset with himself for making the comments, or if he’s disputing them entirely and is upset that they were wrongly attributed to him.
Either way, it’s not great press for Howard and the Rockets.
If Dwight remains so sensitive that he can’t read or hear honest assessments of where he is professionally from one of the game’s all-time greats — who, by the way, has been charged with trying to improve his game through coaching — then the Rockets will be no different than the Lakers or the Magic in terms of places where Howard is unhappy with how he’s publicly portrayed by those around him.
Now, Howard hasn’t said a word in response to Olajuwon’s initial remark, so this is (obviously) purely speculative. But there’s no reason for Olajuwon to backtrack on a relatively harmless comment like this unless he heard about it from someone — either in the Rockets front office, or from Howard himself.