New Memphis Grizzlies center Dwight Howard has been on a number of NBA teams throughout his career, including the Los Angeles Lakers, when he was a teammate of Kobe Bryant.

Howard played with Bryant for one season until he went to play for the Houston Rockets. Howard revealed in an interview on FOX Sports 1 this week that Bryant called him “soft” during one of their games on opposite teams. Howard took it literal during the heat of the moment, and said he hated Bryant for years. Entering a different mental state years later, he realized what Bryant truly meant when he said that.

“He had a comment about me being soft and I think for years I kinda hated him for saying that because I looked at it the wrong way,” he said, according to FOX News. “I think he was talking more so about my mentality, not my physique or how I am on the court. And I didn’t realize that because of the noise surrounding him saying I saw soft. And I hated it. I hated him for that moment.”

Howard was put on the Rockets in the summer of 2013, and struggled to live up to his time in Orlando or in Los Angeles. After realizing what Bryant meant, Howard opened his mind to the interaction he had with the five-time champion.


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“I get it now,” he said, according to FOX News. “Everybody reaches different levels of maturity at different times. I think at that time I was ignorant to the level that he was at. But I appreciate you, Kobe. Thank you for saying I was soft. I didn’t realize what you meant ‘til now.”

The 33-year-old averaged just under 13 points a game with the Washington Wizards last year before being traded to the Grizzlies this summer. This will be his fifth team in six years since leaving the Lakers in 2013.

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