Analyzing the personalities of Kobe Bryant and Dwight Howard this season has made every Los Angeles Lakers fan a bit of an amateur psychologist. Everyone has an opinion on how the two players interact and what their (mostly Howard's) passive aggressive comments mean to each other.
However, it seems that after all this time Howard might actually understand Bryant. In a recent interview he said:
"We talked and [Bryant] told me what he did when he had problems, and I see it for myself now. He was always saying, 'I get into the gym and shoot 5,000 shots.' To see it shows me how dedicated he is. I always tell him, 'I'm afraid to miss. So, when I get there, I don't want to miss, so I end up missing.' He was like, 'You know what, shoot 1,000 jump shots a day and you're going to miss a lot of those shots, but then you're teaching yourself that, hey, it's OK to miss.'"
That's some very Phil Jackson-esque advice from Bryant and it shows that his leadership skills with the young center have certainly softened from publicly telling everyone that Howard should play through his injury, since Bryant did.
It also shows that Howard has humbled himself enough to express his insecurities to Bryant and to seek out advice from a man whose shoes he may be filling as the cornerstone of the Lakers franchise.
Howard continued to explain their interaction, stating:
“Now I see it. So [Bryant] gets out there and might miss a couple of threes, next thing you know he'll make nine threes in a row. You see it and it just kind of gives you more inspiration."
It definitely takes confidence to miss as many shots as Bryant is capable of missing, but it's evident that Howard gets shaken when he misses free throws and other shots. No doubt every player feels insecure about not making several shots, but you can see from other players who have been around Bryant, like Antawn Jamison and Metta World Peace, that having confidence in themselves and their shot is key.
If Howard can believe in himself, practice hard and continue to have a humble, receptive attitude, there's no doubt he can be the same player he was in Orlando, if not better.