Dwight Howard may not be in the league anymore, but he sure still makes the headlines without much difficulty. After all, the former Philadelphia 76ers center — who last played professionally for the Taoyuan Leopards in Taiwan’s T1 League — is a future Hall-of-Famer and has too much clout to completely gloss over when he bares his well-documented experiences in the league.
In fact, recently, Howard took a subtle dig at current Sixers star James Harden while looking back at his first tenure with the Los Angeles Lakers and his renowned fracture with the late Kobe Bryan which eventually cut short what was once expected to be a perfect match.
Dwight Howard disses Philadelphia 76ers star James Harden in his Lakers look-back
Speaking on Matt Hoffa’s podcast, My Expert Opinion, Howard detailed his reasoning behind his decision to leave the Purple and Gold after just one season and join Harden who was at the helm of a rising Houston Rockets team back then.
"I looked at [James Harden] as a younger version of Kobe. I don’t know why I was thinking that… If I would’ve sat down and really thought about my decisions without being in my emotions, I probably would’ve stayed in LA."
While Howard stated that he didn’t mean that Harden failed to live up to his billing, he pointed to having eventually realized that his idea of being able to replicate Kobe and Shaq’s dominance was perhaps overstated.
"No disrespect to James. I’m not saying he’s bad or anything. But I was thinking at the time that me and James could be like a new version of Kobe and [Shaq] because he’s the young two-guard that’s coming up in the league and I’m the older center that’s been dominating. So I’m like man, maybe we got a chance. I think that the Lakers decision was solely based on I felt like me and James was going to be better at that time."
Still, extrapolating what he said, it’s actually Howard’s fault for those Rockets teams not getting over the hump. After reaching the Western Conference Finals in 2015, Howard simply declined and was quickly veering away from his dominant self. Soon after, he bounce around the league and gained a notorious reputation as a locker room wrecker before returning to LA and winning a chip there. He joined the 76ers subsequently before a third stint with the Lakers.
Nevertheless, this is just another proof that the grass isn’t always greener on the other side. Perhaps this could be a soundbite that the Philadelphia 76ers can lean as they navigate through their delicate situation with James Harden.