Dwight Howard’s reputation for being a friendly guy who jokes around too much won’t be helped by this latest report.
According to ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith, Howard’s lack of focus during the NBA All-Star Game on Sunday in Houston made him the target of some cussing from San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich, who was leading the Western Conference squad.
Here’s how Smith reported the story during a visit with “Mike and Mike in the Morning” on ESPN Radio Wednesday morning.
“Coach Gregg Popovich dropped a few F-bombs in Dwight Howard’s direction during All-Star break,” said Smith. “During a timeout, Popovich drew up a play for Dwight Howard, according to my sources. When it was time to run the play, Howard wasn’t in the game, wasn’t paying attention, was on the bench in his warmups, chilling out socializing with folks.
“Popovich almost went ballistic and basically was cussing at him according to numerous people that I spoke to.”
Smith also reports that the friction between Dwight and Kobe Bryant was obvious, and that Kobe didn’t even look at much less talk to Howard throughout the weekend.
When it comes to a story like this, we would want to hear Howard’s side. Did he tell the coaches to limit his minutes because of his shoulder? Was it late in the game when he thought he was done for the day? And if there is ever a time in basketball where relaxing and socializing with teammates is acceptable, it should be the All-Star Game, so it’s hard to get too mad at him for this.
However, Howard was seen laughing and smiling after the Lakers’ most recent loss, which does put his focus into question. We know Howard works hard and that he wants to win, but between his indecision about his future and his friction with Kobe, his reputation is taking a major hit. LA is not the place for him, and New York probably won’t be any better.
You can hear Smith’s comments around the 5:30 mark in this link.