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Dwight Howard says he and Kobe Bryant didn’t hate each other

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By all indications, Dwight Howard and Kobe Bryant were incompatible teammates during the center’s one-season stop with the Los Angeles Lakers. In fact, some suggested the two players couldn’t stand one another, something that played a huge role in Howard’s ultimate departure as a free agent.

But to hear it from Howard, the rumors and conjecture that he and Bryant hated each other were merely inaccurate speculation, despite signs that plainly suggested otherwise.

Howard opened up about his supposed dysfunctional relationship with Bryant after his Rockets defeated the Lakers on Saturday.

“I don’t know why — everybody just made it seem like we just hated each other. There’s no need for us to hate each other,” he said, via The Los Angeles Times. “People always going to pass judgment on a situation. But that situation for me is over and done with.”

Calling Bryant “one of the greatest players to ever play the game, Howard also suggested his former teammate wasn’t bothered by his free agency decision to join the Rockets.

“And I don’t think he’s that upset about me leaving, because at the end of the day we’re all men and we make decisions based on our life,” he said. “I don’t have an issue with him. I pray for the guy every day and I’m happy to see him go out on a high note.

That may be how Howard truly perceives things, but how the two have had one ugly run-in since his departure from the Lakers certainly points to the fact that there may be some serious bad blood between them.

The reports indicating that Howard isn’t happy with the Rockets and could be traded of course have dominated the Howard-related headlines, although he did call said reports “rumors and lies.”

But what the superstar center had to say about his supposed tempestuous relationship with Bryant certainly is relevant given the nature of the aforementioned rumors that Howard isn’t happy playing second fiddle to another superstar teammate, James Harden. Buyer beware, perhaps.