The Lakers team chemistry has come into question a lot recently due to comments from the team as well as their play on the court. One of the most important duos on the team is Kobe Bryant and Dwight Howard and how well they mesh together. Kobe shared his thoughts on the matter. Read more after the jump.
Whenever a superstar Lakers center starts talking about chemistry, or a lack thereof, the conversation usually turns back to the tumultuous but ultimately wildly successful eight-year run of Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant that resulted in three NBA titles.
When asked to compare the still-developing dynamic between himself and Howard to the run he had with O’Neal, Bryant laughed.
“That was a different dynamic. Shaq and I were a different dynamic,” Bryant said. “That type of duo, you’re not going to find another duo like that ever. There were other duos that were better than us, (Scottie) Pippen and (Michael) Jordan. But you’ll never find a duo with two dominant personalities like myself and Shaquille. That was kind of a once-in-a-lifetime thing.”
Looking back on those years, Bryant said he’s amazed the peace held as long as it did.
“That just wasn’t going to last,” he said, laughing. “You have too many alpha males. What do you think would happen if you put Jordan with Wilt? It’s just not going to happen.”
So can two alpha males ever coexist long enough to win titles?
“We did. We won three straight,” Bryant said, referencing the Lakers’ three-peat from 2000-02. “One of them has to sacrifice. I sacrificed quite a bit with individual numbers and MVPs and NBA Finals and all this other stuff.
“Phil (Jackson) used to come to us as a team and let me take over in the march to the Finals. Then in the Finals against Eastern Conference teams that didn’t have any centers, we went through Shaq. Those are things I was willing to sacrifice. You have to have that sacrifice to make that dynamic work.”
Asked again how that compares to the dynamic with Howard, Bryant said: “It’s not the same thing. On that team, it was me and Shaq and role players, who were excellent role players. Here, it’s me, Dwight, Steve and Pau (Gasol). We play to each other’s strengths. Steve is the best facilitating guard. Pau is the best facilitating big man. The ball goes through those guys, and it allows them to make everybody better. It’s really that simple.”
When told of Bryant’s quotes, characterizing himself as sacrificing during the O’Neal era, Howard asked for clarification.
“He took a back seat?” Howard asked. “I was super young, so I really don’t remember too much from those championship runs.”
Howard was then asked if he thought he had the same kind of alpha male personality as O’Neal.
“You can’t look at it as the alpha male. It’s basketball. We’re not a pack of wolves,” Howard said.
“There’s different ways to lead a team. Sometimes you have to follow to learn how to lead. I’ve done an excellent job with guys of being somebody they can all come to if they have a problem.
“But if they’re not working the way they need to work, I’m the guy that will tell ’em, ‘Hey, you need to get in the weight room or get some extra shots up.’ That’s where I come in. I don’t have to bark about it to you guys (reporters) or to the team.”
I agree the dynamic between Kobe & Shaq and Kobe & Dwight is totally different. Shaq seems like more of dominate person than Dwight to me but somehow it’s not working as well. It also could be that Dwight’s performance hasn’t been as great as Shaq’s either…