Dwight Howard on Reputation: ‘I’ve Never Been a Bad Teammate’

Dwight Howard wants to make one thing clear — he’s never been a bad teammate.

As Howard prepares for his second stint with the Los Angeles Lakers, the 33-year-old is dispelling the notion that has followed him for years — the one that has labeled him as a bad teammate.

During an interview on an upcoming episode with Graham Bensinger of “In Depth with Graham Bensinger,” Howard responds to the negative reputation that has followed him ever since his debut with the Lakers during the 2012-13 season.

Dwight Howard Was Affected by Bad Teammate Reputation

Dwight opens up to how he was affected by rumors that he was a bad teammate and points to awards received as proof that the rumors are not true.

Dwight: The one thing that I really hated was just hearing people say I was a cancer in the locker room, or I’m not good to have around teammates. That really affected me for a while… How could somebody who’s won Community Assist Awards be told by everybody that you have a great character, people-person, but all of a sudden bad in the locker room?… One year I got Teammate of the Year. And then the same summer, like, ‘He’s a bad teammate.’ And so I’m like, ‘This does not add up. There’s no way somebody could be the teammate of the year but a bad teammate’ … But it had me so upset where, I really didn’t wanna be around just people in general, ’cause I’m like, ‘Man, they gon’ think I’m a bad person, so I might as well just hide’ …

Howard also makes the most interesting quote you’ll find on the entire topic — that he’s never been a “bad teammate.”

Graham: Like, teammates cheering when you get traded – when you read stuff like that, how does it make you feel?

Dwight: … I was just trying to figure out what person would do that because I was really cool with my teammates. I’ve never been a bad teammate. I’ve never been that guy… So I would love to just continue to try to convey that message. I think people just see it as me just talking ’cause I’m trying to get something, get on the team, or get in people’s good graces. But no. I just don’t understand, like, where that would come from. So I wanna just change that whole narrative.

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Dwight Howard’s “Bad” Reputation Began with the Lakers

Howard’s less-than-stellar reputation began around the time of his first season with the Lakers back in 2012-13. Howard’s rivalry with franchise star Kobe Bryant dominated headlines — and it didn’t help matters that the Lakers finished with a lackluster 45-37 record and were swept in the playoffs.

Although Howard was slowed down by a serious injury — he played through a torn labrum and still only missed six games — combined with Steve Nash‘s debilitating back injury and team chemistry problems, it was the veteran center — and no one else — who was blamed for the Lakers’ shortcomings.

The 15-year NBA veteran will begin his second stint with the Lakers this season and will have the opportunity to make fans forget about that disastrous season. For what it’s worth, Bryant — Howard’s former nemesis — says that D12 will be “ready” this time around.

Whether or not Howard’s bad reputation is warranted, he’ll have the opportunity to prove to Lakers nation that he is indeed a good teammate as they look to make the playoffs for the first time since his last season in Los Angeles.

You can view the entire interview with Howard when the newest episode of “In Depth with Graham Bensinger” premieres this weekend across the country. You can check where it’ll air on these TV listings.

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