Sportress of Blogitude

Kobe Bryant, unlike Kevin Durant, doesn’t think Dwight Howard is a ‘p—y’

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To say that Kobe Bryant and Dwight Howard had an acrimonious relationship when the two were Los Angeles Lakers teammates wouldn’t do justice to the rumored schism between the NBA stars.

The perceived animosity that pervaded their tenure together seemed to have carried over once Howard left the team and then came to a head during a game between the Lakers and Houston Rockets last month.

Howard caught Kobe up high while clearing out after a rebound during the chippy, chirpy game. The two started to jaw a bit afterward and the incident precipitated a flurry of smack-talking by Kobe from the bench, including what appeared to be Bryant profanely trashing Howard by seemingly calling the Rockets star a “soft motherf—er … bitch-ass ni–a.”

Howard seems to have run afoul with at least a few NBA superstars as last week it was Kevin Durant’s turn to drop an unsavory takedown on the Houston center.

The Oklahoma City Thunder star, not playing as he recovers from a foot injury, reportedly didn’t allow his place on the bench from unloading on Howard, allegedly calling him a “p—y.”

Fast forward to Wednesday night. Following the Lakers’ surprising 98-92 victory over Howard’s Rockets, Bryant was asked about Howard, specifically about Durant’s slam on Howard.

Bryant insisted that neither he, nor Durant for that matter, truly think such terrible things about Howard and that such unsavory salvos such as that one often occur in the heat of the moment on the basketball court.

“No, I don’t feel that way. I don’t think Kevin does, either,” said Bryant, via ESPN Los Angeles’ Baxter Holmes. “In moments of confrontation during a game, you’ll say things in the heat of the moment.

“I know Dwight. I’m sure Kevin does. We don’t really feel that way about him. It’s like when you get in an argument with somebody, you’ll say things out of frustration, out of anger, that you don’t really mean.”

Bryant’s assessment of how these kind of situations arise on the court certainly is more than plausible. But every verbal jab, slight or insult has some element of truth at its core, it can be argued.

When asked about his perceived, profane comments about Howard during the game last month, Bryant downplayed them, saying it’s not as it seems.

“Heat of the battle, heat of the moment,” Bryant insisted. “You [reporters] have all been in arguments, you guys that are married. Sometimes you say things that you wish you could take back that you don’t really mean. But it’s in the heat of confrontation, and sometimes things come out.”

While to some extent Bryant’s statements about Howard may be true — despite some of the things he has said in the past — it’s possible the Laker doth protest too much, methinks, in denying his negative feelings about Howard. There simply has been too much ugliness between the two — Kobe does not like Howard. He may not hate him, but the perception of their relationship is simply not a matter of regrettable on-court outbursts, no matter what he says.

Bryant also acknowledged it’s more difficult in this day and age to get away with hostile, albeit brief, verbal encounters on the court, given that everything seems to get recorded by somebody.

“Well, in the moment, no. In hindsight, yes,” he said. “Especially now with social media and [the fact that] everybody has a camera. You try to be as conscious as possible to the fact that kids are watching.”

Indeed. In the infinite wisdom of Helen Lovejoy, “Won’t somebody please think of the children?”

Despite Bryant’s insistence that he tries to be more cautious these days — in the “heat of the moment,” as he puts it — chances are good that less-than-complimentary things will continue  be said by the Lakers star. It’s in his nature, as it is the case with most people.