How many things would Kobe change with Dwight Howard? “Zero. Absolutely zero.”


Kobe Bryant has become a quote machine since going down for the season with a torn rotator cuff.

Part of it is he’s done a lot of media (to promote”Kobe Bryant presents ‘Muse” his documentary on Showtime, Feb. 28, 9 p.m. ET). Part of it is he’s reached the “I don’t give a s—” phase of his career. Meaning he’ll say he wanted to get traded to the Bulls back in 2007, not the Pistons. Or that it’s the media’s fault he only has one MVP (the media does vote on the award).

One area he has no regrets? The Dwight Howard debacle.

Kobe was on the Grantland Basketball Hour on ESPN and was just being honest in answering questions. Then he was asked if he could go back in time what he would have changed with Dwight Howard (transcription by Eye on Basketball).

“Zero. Absolutely zero. Nothing,” Bryant said.

“Listen, I learned how to be a leader by watching Magic (Johnson), (Larry) Bird, Michael (Jordan) and those guys. They’re relentless; they’re ruthless. For me to give the keys to this kingdom to the next dude that’s going to lead the Lakers organization for years to come, he has to have that same DNA. I can’t be apologetic.”

Most Lakers fans would agree with him.

Kobe and Howard come at the game very differently, and that led to clashes from the start. Although that dynamic was part of a perfect storm in Los Angeles that year which included Howard returning from back surgery too quickly and Steve Nash being injured as well. As things went south that season, Howard took the public blame in LA.

The question is what player lives up to that billing. My guess is if Kobe could pick he’d go with the Oklahoma City guys — Kevin Durant and/or Russell Westbrook. But Kobe doesn’t get to pick, and the buzz is if Durant does leave OKC he is heading East not West. Westbook is a L.A. guy who played at UCLA, but he’s not a free agent until 2017 and in the NBA that’s a few lifetimes from now.

All we know for now is it will not be Howard.