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Howard admits he hated Bryant for calling him ‘soft’ but thankful to Mamba for it

by Niel Victor Masoy, July 20, 2019 2:40pm

Dwight Howard and Kobe Bryant joined forces in the Los Angeles Lakers back in the 2012-2013 NBA season.

Albeit both players are still at the height of their powers at that time, the Lakers did have a disappointing year as they finished the regular season as the seventh seed (45-37) in the Western Conference before getting swept by the San Antonio Spurs in the first round of the playoffs.

Howard then left Los Angeles for the Houston Rockets, while Bryant suffered two devastating injuries (Achilles and knee) that had him sidelined for most of the 2013-2014 season.

Bryant would enter the 2014-2015 season in good health, and in the Lakers’ season opener against the Rockets on October 28, he and Howard took the court but as opponents again.

In the fourth quarter of the match which the Rockets eventually won, Howard was called for a foul in a rebounding battle against Bryant.

Trying to protect the ball from Bryant, Howard swung his arms for about a couple of times - hitting Bryant in the chin, and that didn’t sit well with the Black Mamba.

What transpired next was the trash talking between the two players, with Bryant being seen telling Howard ‘you’re soft’ and ‘try me’.

Almost four years and nine months forward, Howard talked about the incident in an appearance at the Fox Sports 1 Fair Game hosted by Kristine Leahy.

Howard -an eight time All-Star- said he hated Bryant for calling him soft.

“He had a comment about me being soft and I think for years I kinda hated him for saying that because I looked at it the wrong way,” he said

The now Grizzlies center initially thought that Bryant calling him soft meant he was weak physically.

"I think he was talking more so about my mentality, not my physique or how I am on the court. And I didn’t realize that because of the noise surrounding him saying I saw soft. And I hated it. I hated him for that moment."

But Howard said Bryant’s comment about him is now making sense, and he’s grateful for the five-time NBA champion and Lakers legend for it.

“I get it now. Everybody reaches different levels of maturity at different times. I think at that time I was ignorant to the level that he was at,” the 15-year veteran said.

“But I appreciate you, Kobe. Thank you for saying I was soft. I didn’t realize what you meant ‘til now.”

Howard, 33, averaged 12.8 points and 9.2 rebounds last season for the Washington Wizards.

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