Dwight Howard was among the NBA superstars who reached the heights of his potential at one point in his career. Several years ago, "D12" had the rare opportunity to play alongside Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers and co-star with James Harden in Houston. But for some reason, in both of the incredible duos, he became part of the stories that never worked out the way they originally planned.
Dwight's turbulent prime years
Looking back at Howard's turbulent prime years in the league, it seemed like he had the physical attributes of an ideal big man, but "Superman" lacked the maturity of a winner. As we all know, Howard hit his strides with the Orlando Magic, but he didn't see eye-to-eye with his former coach Stan Van Gundy. In LA, Bryant said he wanted to infuse Howard with a championship mentality, but Howard wasn't ready for it. Almost the same storyline came out in Houston as reports stated the Howard-Harden tandem was a fail, and the two wound up telling the Rockets' front office to trade each other.
As expected, those stories ultimately made Howard the least likable NBA superstar of his generation.
That wasn't the case
Of course, there are always two sides to every story. Years have passed, but Howard is certain about what went down when he played with these two superstars. In a revealing interview with Andscape in 2017, "D12" lifted the lid on his fallouts Orlando, Kobe, and Harden.
According to Howard, since he never shared his side of the story in the Orlando debacle, "people just decided" that whatever "narrative" was there with the Magic also "went on" with Bryant and Harden.
"After the situation in Orlando, I never really came out and said my side of the story about what was going on there while I was there and the reasons for me wanting to leave," Howard explained. "After that, people just decided that, 'He's not going to talk about it, so we might as well come up with a narrative and what we think went on in L.A. and what went on with Kobe [Bryant] and what we think happened with James [Harden].' I never had a personal vendetta with either one of those guys. People took it as me having a problem with them being on a team with another superstar… I've never been the one to say, 'OK, I want to talk about this because it was an issue with me.' But everyone else kind of made it a storyline."
After leaving Houston in 2016, Howard bounced around from team to team until finally finding a new lease on life with the Lakers in 2019. Alongside LeBron James, Howard finally won an NBA championship, but he was no longer the "Superman" All-Star he used to be.
Howard has yet to land a contract with an NBA team this season, and he's now contemplating calling it quits. It's too early to jump to conclusions, but retirement doesn't sound bad after all these years in the NBA.