Kobe Bryant had some unpleasant words for Dwight Howard on the court when the Lakers faced the Rockets earlier this season, and the animosity we saw was completely understandable.
Howard left the Lakers in free agency after famously clashing with Bryant from a personality standpoint — Bryant is the game’s fiercest competitor, while Howard … well, not quite as much.
It was no surprise, then, to see Bryant engage in some not-safe-for-work name-calling. But when one of the league’s nice guys in Kevin Durant was spotted doing the exact same thing recently, it was worth wondering just how many of the league’s stars share this negative opinion.
According to Gary Payton, it’s a very long list.
“I think he’s disliked by a lot of players,” Payton said. “What Dwight does is, you know you see all the smiles and all the antics, that is getting on player’s nerves. To get this guy, Kevin Durant, to do what he did, you know it’s starting to become a problem with players, because Kevin Durant doesn’t really talk to anybody … [Durant] goes at people that are fake with stuff. Only fake guys. Fake guys to me are when they’re always woofing, woofing, woofing, and they don’t really do nothing.”
LaMarcus Aldridge is at least one other player who has been seen using a certain p-word where Howard was concerned.
This is part of the reason the Lakers made the right decision by essentially choosing Bryant over Howard in free agency, despite the fact that it left the franchise in such a dismal state of affairs. Howard isn’t a face-of-the-franchise type of player; while he’s undoubtedly an All-Star talent, he doesn’t have the mindset to be the one leading a team by himself. And it appears as though several of his peers around the league realize that.