With the Los Angeles Lakers bringing back Dwight Howard for the 2019-20 NBA season, many have begun looking back at his first stint with them.
Very famously, Howard and Steve Nash joined Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol on the Lakers and with head coach Mike D’Antoni replacing former head coach Mike Brown, many believed it was a foregone conclusion that another championship was coming.
Of course, things didn’t work out at all the way they hoped. Nash was injured in the team’s second game of the season, Howard dealt with back and shoulder issues all season, and the entire group just didn’t gel well. The icing on the cake came late in the season when Bryant tore his Achilles, ending any championship hopes and altering the remainder of his career.
Nash recently reflected on that season, believing that it probably never would have worked and now Howard is doing the same. In an interview on In Depth with Graham Bensinger, Howard spoke on a number of things from that first sting including his injuries, Bryant, and the effect the fans and media had on him:
Howard certainly seems to have a different tone and presence about him this time around with the Lakers and he is saying all of the right things. That season really seemed to be cursed as everyone suffered and nothing went right. Howard admitted that he let too many outside influences affect him should give some hope that he has learned from that time and is better equipped to handle things the second time around.
The pressure and circus of playing with the Lakers has not died down and Howard once again comes to a team with championship expectations. The only difference is instead of Bryant and Gasol, it’s LeBron James and Anthony Davis leading the way.
No one knows how the new season will go for the Lakers, but Howard has a chance to undo one of the worst times of his career and everyone will be watching closely to see how he handles it.