Kobe Bryant and Dwight Howard: It Will Never Work
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Kim Kardashian and Kris Humphries. Sandra Bullock and Jesse James. Katy Perry and Russell Brand. All of these couples claimed that they wanted it to work, tried to make it work, and yet their relationships publicly dissolved into a state of ruin. Perhaps it is only fitting that Kobe Bryant and Dwight Howard play for the Lakers, a team staged in Hollywood.
Some couples are just not meant to be together. Take, for example, Taylor Swift and every guy that she has ever dated. Taylor is still rolling in profits from her lead single “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together.”
I do not claim to be a clinical psychologist, but I think that most of us would agree that it takes two to make a relationship work. Bryant and Howard are two very different individuals. For starters, Bryant’s nickname is the “Black Mamba.” After virtually stealing the nickname “Superman” from Shaquille O’Neal, Howard switched his nickname in 2012 to “Iron Man.” Last I checked, deadly snakes and superheroes do not have an affinity towards one another.
Bryant is a consummate competitor in every sense. He demands the most out of every teammate, especially Dwight “Iron Man” Howard. Unfortunately, Howard has played more like “Quail Man” trying to impress Patty Mayonnaise.
The fact pattern works like this. Howard fails to maximize his potential. Kobe gets frustrated. Howard decides not to play with an injury. Kobe publicly questions Howard’s intensity. Howard tells a reporter that he does not care about others’ opinions. Cue the beat for Taylor Swift’s lead single.
In Howard’s defense -- the only time you'll see me put those two words back to back -- Bryant has not exactly performed like the youthful player he once was. Also, Howard is one of the new guys trying to fit into a team that has been Bryant’s for a while. But Howard brings a certain stigma with him to the Lakers that was born out of his public rants about Stan Van Gundy, the Orlando Magic, and wanting to be traded. Bryant knew the dirt on Howard before the trade and surely kept this in the back of his mind.
Michael Jordan and Dennis Rodman made it work. Two former rivals, one clean shaven and one who seemingly arrived from Planet X, combined forces to win championships. Like Jordan, Bryant is a fierce competitor. Unlike Jordan, Bryant is not always the kind of leader who has the patience and fortitude to will his teammates to greatness.
In order for a Bryant and Howard partnership to materialize, Bryant will have to accept Howard for who he is and vest himself in showing Howard what it means to be a champion. Likewise, Howard will need to be open to receiving Bryant’s help and prioritize the team first.
Unless Bryant and Howard can reverse the Hollywood script and miraculously reach the playoffs this year, they will “never, ever be getting back together.”