Dwight Howard spent many years away from the Lakers trying to rebuild his reputation that was soured by leaving the team in the first place. Coming back to Los Angeles had many people, including myself, scared that he might just get up to his old ways and be a locker room cancer.
Howard could not have proven me more wrong so far this season, and following the 120-94 win against the Golden State Warriors, he proved himself to be a team defender both on and off the court.
The Lakers posted a video of LeBron James and Howard connecting on a play, and the comments were filled with people commenting that the Lakers should trade Kentavious Caldwell-Pope. KCP has had a rough season and is a popular lightning rod for complaints whenever the team underperforms.
Howard took it upon himself to defend his teammate from harassment in the comments by responding to a fan.
Brotherhood. 🤜🤛 pic.twitter.com/NJMPqY47ow
— Lakers Outsiders (@LakersOutsiders) November 14, 2019
Harrison Faigen of Silver Screen and Roll (and co-founder of Lakers Outsiders) asked Howard about the interaction following the game, and this is what he had to say about it.
I asked Dwight Howard about his defense of Kentavious Caldwell-Pope on Instagram that's going around, and here's the full transcript of what he had to say. pic.twitter.com/IQQz1H0zaQ
— Harrison Faigen (@hmfaigen) November 14, 2019
“Because we’re a family. We talk about Lakers Nation, we talk about winning a championship, and we need everybody on the same page. KCP is my teammate. He’s my brother. And he’s a part of this family. We don’t talk bad about nobody that’s on our team. We’re gonna need KCP to win this championship, and I don’t think it’s right for anybody to wish any type of harm or any type of danger on my teammate. Of course there’s going to be nights where guys miss shots, miss layups but we need to set a standard,” Howard continued. “If we want to win a championship, everybody has got to have that same championship mentality. We’ve got to be on the same page. If we’re on the same page as an organization and as a fanbase and as a team, there’s nothing that we can’t accomplish. I don’t really like anybody talking about my brother like that. We shouldn’t do that. The fans should not do that. We’re together in this. If we win, everybody wins. That’s just how I look at it.”
It appeared that KCP injured himself during the game, and that may have fueled Howard’s desire to respond to a commenter on Instagram.
Regardless of motive, what Howard did was something that some may see as corny. But he was defending his teammate who had had a rough season, something that is familiar to him over the past few years.
Howard has shown immense growth both on and off the court as a Laker, and has quietly turned into a favorite of mine on the team. This is just another reason to believe that he has fully changed for the better.