Dwight Howard is bound for the Basketball Hall of Fame. This is not up for reasonable debate.
He may not have the most charming personality or a career filled with winning, but the eight-time All-Star and three-time defensive player of the year has inarguable numbers to earn induction in Springfield.
What’s also not up for reasonable debate is that Howard burns bridges. The now-Nets center apparently left a bad impression in Charlotte before the Hornets shipped him to Brooklyn on Wednesday in what amounted to a salary dump.
Report: Hornets players ‘did not like Dwight Howard’
Former NBA player and current Sirius XM host Brendan Haywood gave the scoop on Wednesday (H/T @HowardBeck).
“The locker room did not like Dwight Howard,” Haywood said. “Guys were just sick and tired of his act.”
Haywood played for the Hornets in 2012-13 and apparently still has ties with Kemba Walker and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, who were on the same Hornets team. Haywood played college ball at North Carolina and likely has ties with Hornets Marvin Williams and Marcus Paige as well.
If what Haywood is saying is accurate — and all signs point to it being so — this is a recurring theme for Howard. Howard has angered and frustrated coaches and teammates at almost every step of his career.
Howard apparently not worth the headache
While Howard used to be a coveted basketball asset, a combination of diminishing skills and the devaluation of his skillset as a traditional NBA center has left teams in recent years concluding that Howard just isn’t worth the headache.
In Brooklyn, Howard will be on his fourth team in four years. After the Atlanta Hawks traded him to the Hornets last year, his former teammates reportedly “screamed in jubilation.”
Former Hawks teammate Dennis Schroeder criticized Howard for lack of effort on the floor after that deal.
“He plays always great against his former team. Credit to him too, but that’s like four games each year, you know? Houston, L.A., us. I think he’s always giving his best there but the others games he (shrugs).”
Chemistry between Howard and James Harden at his previous stop with the Houston Rockets was reportedly “cordially bad” as he was described as distant and frozen out of the offense.
Kobe was right about Dwight?
Kobe Bryant famously did not get along with Howard during his brief disappointing stint with the Los Angeles Lakers.
A rift that was widely blamed on Bryant at the time now points largely to Howard in retrospect.
Bryant told his side of the story to USA Today in 2015.
“I tried teaching Dwight. I tried showing him. But the reality is that when you have a perception of what it is to win a championship – and most perceptions of what it’s like to win are a very outgoing, very gregarious locker room where you pick each other up and you’re friends all the time. That’s the perception. And I think that’s what his perception was of what the idea is. But when he saw the reality of it, it made him uncomfortable. And it’s very tough to be able to fight through that, to deal with that challenge. And I don’t think he was willing to deal with that uncomfortable and combative nature.”
Rift with Van Gundy a sign of things to come
And in perhaps the defining moment of Howard’s career, he famously gave Orlando Magic head coach Stan Van Gundy a hug in front of the media while Van Gundy was discussing reports that Howard wanted him fired.
Van Gundy’s response was to recoil and get away from Howard as quickly as possible in what has become a metaphor for the rest of Howard’s career.
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