Kobe Bryant seemed sour, judging by his social media activity, after Dwight Howard made his decision to join the Houston Rockets, but Kobe should look no further than to his own actions as a major reason the big man choose to leave the Lakers.
There were several other reasons that impacted Howard's decision, including the prodigiousness of the Rocket's young roster and budding superstar James Harden. While the Lakers' aging roster and somewhat unaccomplished coach dissuaded the big man from re-signing with the team, it was Bryant's authoritarian approach to "mentoring" him that ultimately resulted in the Howard's departure.
"You need to learn how it's done first, and I can teach you here," Kobe reportedly said during a nearly two-hour meeting in which the Lakers made their pitch to Howard. "I know how to do it, and I've learned from the best - players who have won multiple times over and over."
Howard was reportedly "turned off" by Kobe's lecture. It wasn't Kobe's message that was off-putting, but more so the way he executed it. Howard wanted to be canoodled and told how much the Lakers wanted him, not that he needed to be taught how to win. Why the Lakers chose Bryant, who has probably never kissed up to anyone in his life, to make a speech meant to lure Howard is anyone's guess.
But the damage was done even before Howard hit free agency. Bryant's ego didn't allow him to hand over the reigns to the younger Howard. Pundits point to Howard's declined production last season, but fail to acknowledge that Kobe dominated the offense. Even while adjusting to a new offense on the fly, suffering through back injuries and playing in a system that didn't particularly put him in the best position to succeed, Howard still averaged 17.1 points and a league leading12.4 rebounds.
The Lakers could have offered him $30 million more than any other team. The fact that Howard walked away from that type of payday means he must have had some major issues. Sure the Lakers' have a less than stellar roster, but they've proven throughout their history they are one of the best, if not the best, team at signing star players and winning championships. But not even the chance at multiple rings in LA could convince Howard to stomach Kobe.