Report: Dwight mocked Kobe behind his back

Just when it appeared the Los Angeles Lakers had escaped their season-long drama — even if just for a few days — a report surfaced Tuesday that Dwight Howard mocked Kobe Bryant behind his back in the locker room during All-Star Weekend in Houston.

According to the New York Post, a source said Howard “grabbed Kobe’s uniform, put it on, and imitated him in front of all the other players on the West team,” including the Clippers’ Chris Paul and Blake Griffin and the Thunder’s Kevin Durant.

The report also claims that after arriving in the locker room, Bryant “said hello to everyone on the team except Howard, grabbed his stuff and moved as far away from Howard as he could,” according to the source.

While there may be validity to the report, it isn’t the first time Howard has jokingly mocked Bryant.

In his introductory press conference with the Lakers, Howard amused the media with a spot-on impression of Bryant during a phone call.
Then in November, while on a plane following a loss to the Sacramento Kings, Howard hopped on the intercom system and gave a quick team speech, playfully mocking a “75-year-old” Bryant.

In January, after the New York Daily News reported that the two nearly came to blows following a New Year’s Day loss, and just after Bryant reportedly agreed with Shaquille O’Neal’s comments labeling Howard “soft,” Bryant and Howard both took to social media to make light of the situation.

Each posted a photo of the two in a staged pre-fight showdown with Mike D’Antoni separating them.

“The mamba vs d12!! It’s on lol,” said Bryant on Twitter.

Regardless of their relationship behind closed doors, there has been no shortage of drama between Bryant and Howard.

Following a recent ESPN report that had Bryant quoted as saying, “we don’t have time for [Howard’s shoulder] to heal. We need some urgency,” Howard and his father were quick to speak out.

“He’s not a doctor,” said Howard in a Los Angeles Times report.

Added Howard’s father in an interview with the Atlanta-Journal Constitution: “I understand what Kobe was trying to do, but he went about it the wrong way. He’s trying to win a championship. But Dwight has to tell Kobe, ‘I appreciate your opinion, but that doesn’t matter. We’re two men on this team. We need to be reasonable about this.'”

The drama continued going into All-Star break, when after a 125-101 loss against the Clippers, an angry Bryant said, “we lose by 20 or 30 points, we definitely can’t be laughing and joking around.”

Bryant never specified who his comments were directed toward, but a FOX Sports Ohio report surfaced this weekend with sources saying Bryant would back GM Mitch Kupchak should he decide to trade Howard.

-Natalie Venegas