1. EXHIBIT A: Kobe and Dwight argue.
It’s the most spoken unspoken rule in the NBA: Kobe Bryant is king of the Los Angeles Lakers, and has been ever since the team opted to keep Kobe over Shaquille O’Neal. Even Dwight Howard’s arrival in L.A. doesn’t change that, whether Dwight likes it or not. It doesn’t appear that he likes it.
Earlier in the season, Dwight and Kobe got into arguments about Kobe’s help defense during a win — during a win — over the New Orleans Hornets. (They can’t figure out how to guard Greivis Vasquez and Robin Lopez, and people wonder why the team’s 12-14.) Now, Kobe’s pretty used to hectoring his own teammates, as Pau Gasol could happily tell you, but he’s not used to being talked back to, and particularly not used to being hectored first.
2. EXHIBIT B: Dwight disrespects his teammates.
Let’s see: should we start with that time Dwight called out the other Lakers players for not trying hard enough? “As a team, our effort wasn’t there,” he said, then added, “I play hard every night.” So, he plays hard, but no one else does.
Or we could talk about how Dwight continues to talk about leaving after the year is up, even though he just got to L.A., so that he can pursue a championship. He said this less than a quarter of the way through the season. Between these two comments, there’s no doubt he’s engendered some serious ill will among his brothers-in-arms.
3. EXHIBIT C: When Gerald Henderson posterized Dwight, his teammates cheered.
That picture above shows the Bobcats’ Gerald Henderson absolutely embarrassing Dwight. I start with the picture because it shows just how clearly Henderson skied on him, but the in full-motion is even more of a sight to see.
4. Here’s a GIF of the dunk. Henderson absolutely embarrasses Dwight. But look closer — look at the left end of the Lakers’ bench.
5. That’s right — Antawn Jamison springs up after Henderson’s dunk as though he were celebrating a play by his teammate, and Robert Sacre, L.A.’s most strident peerleader, has to pull him down.
That is NOT how you react when a teammate you like gets dunked on. It just isn’t.
IMPORTANT SIDE NOTE: Jordan Hill, who is lying with his feet up on some sort of box — good energy, Jordan! — also kind of reacts, but it’s more like he just got woken up from a nap. Exactly what you want from a pro basketball player!