D12 says he and Kobe Bryant have never fought despite media speculation.
Los Angeles Lakers center Dwight Howard has put the record straight in an exclusive interview with CBSLA.com’s Kristine Leahy.
D12 has had a disruptive start to life in LA having struggled with injuries, reported run-ins with team-mates and coaches and faced questions over his desire to win.
However, Howard has denied rumours of disagreements with Kobe Bryant, claiming the two have never fought since his arrival from the Orlando Magic.
The former All-Star also dismissed media talk that he isn’t as committed to winning as others considering his tendency to joke around whether with the media or out on the court.
Howard says he is as desperate to win a championship with the Lakers as anyone else, but perhaps has a different way of showing it compared to the likes of Bryant, who remains ruthlessly dedicated to bringing back a title to Los Angeles.
Throughout the season though, a lot has been said on Howard’s injury and fitness troubles as he arrived after undergoing back surgery while in Orlando, before suffering a shoulder strain earlier this season.
However, he has played in 54 of the Lakers’ 60 games until now, averaging 16.1 points and 12.0 rebounds, but has received a lot of criticism for not playing through the pain barrier.
“Looking back on it, I could have sat out the whole season until now, but I just felt like we had such a great opportunity. Some of these guys, their windows for winning is very small and I just wanted to get back and try to do whatever I can to help this team. Sometimes I have gotten beat up for it, but that’s fine,” he said as reported by NBA.com.
“I took all those hits and I keep moving. I’ve been doing whatever I can to get back into the shape that I’ve always been into, and it takes a while. I’ve got to keep going, keep pushing myself and get better,” he added.
The 27-year-old Atlanta native admits he has been hurt by some of the criticism, having been labelled a “coach-killer” and had his love for the game questioned.
However, he remains determined to help the Lakers firstly reach the play-offs, before hopefully challenging for another title.
The first objective has looked more realistic in recent weeks, as the Lakers have fought their way back in to contention in the Western Conference but will know they face a difficult final stretch to the season.
D12 is a free agent this summer, and despite recently shooting an advertisement with Adidas representing the Lakers and stating he is “All in for LA”, he will have a big decision to make on whether to extend his stay at the Staples Center beyond this season.