Kobe Bryant has some advice for Dwight Howard before he walks into the presumably unappreciative confines of Amway Arena.
After all, it could be an emotional return for Howard when the Lakers play Tuesday in Orlando.
“Emotional? Man, I’ll talk to him,” a plainly unemotional Bryant said Sunday. “Just go out there and bust their [rear]. Show them what they’re missing. Save the emotional [stuff] for when you retire.”
Bryant would know. He is booed everywhere he goes, nowhere more than in his hometown, Philadelphia.
The schedule, though, dictates that it’s almost time for Howard to return to the place he departed in August as part of a four-team trade, with scores of angry Magic fans left behind.
“I’ve thought about it. I think it’s going to be crazy,” said Howard, who played his first eight NBA seasons with the Magic. “I don’t know how I’m going to handle it.
“I remember the situation with LeBron [James] when he went to Cleveland for the first time. After the game, those guys were talking about how they were just trying to be there for him because they know how emotional it was. I’m pretty sure it’s going to be very emotional for me. Even just to talk about it just brings back a lot of emotion, but we’ll see how it goes.”
On a related note, Howard was laughing as he walked into the Lakers’ locker room Sunday, the subject matter on his iPad mini cracking him up.
“Hey, check this out,” he said to teammate Chris Duhon more than an hour before tipoff against the Chicago Bulls.
Howard was watching a video parody to the tune of Cee Lo’s “Forget You,” complete with crudely animated Orlando Magic players crooning to Howard.
“I guess our brand-new arena wasn’t enough and I’m like, ‘Forget you and the Lakers too,’ ” sang a cartoon image of Jameer Nelson, his head tilting and rolling from side to side. “Although there’s pain in my chest, I still the wish you the best…forget you.”
It wasn’t really Nelson singing, but Howard complimented the creators of the video, posted on the Orlando Sentinel website a few days earlier.
“It was hilarious,” Howard said. “But people are going to do whatever they want to do. People are going to say whatever they want to say. I’m here with the Lakers now. That’s the past.
“I wish everybody on that team and everybody in that city luck with whatever they’re doing in life, but I’m here and I’m committed to helping this team win a championship this year.”