During his time in the NBA, Dwight Howard hasn’t always been the most popular figure. While the big man showed plenty of talent in Orlando, he developed a bit of a reputation as a bad teammate. Although he’s turned things around in Los Angeles, Howard has apparently already run into trouble inside the NBA’s Walt Disney World Bubble.
For better or worse, the league has set up a hotline for players to report potential violations of the bubble’s safety protocol. Someone, it seems, has already snitched on Dwight Howard.
Dwight Howard has revitalized his career with the Los Angeles Lakers
Before the 2019-20 NBA season began, Dwight Howard’s NBA career was trending in the wrong direction. During his second stint in Hollywood, though, the big man has turned things around.
When Howard jumped directly from high school to the NBA in 2004, he seemed like a surefire star. While he took a few seasons to truly hit his stride—adjusting to the pros is tough for anyone, let alone a teenager—the center started pulling down rebounds, blocking shots, and scoring with equal ease.
Despite his success, things in Orlando didn’t end happily. During the 2011-12 campaign, Howard requested a trade; while he later walked things back, the damage had been done. That summer, the Magic traded their disgruntled star to the Los Angeles Lakers.
While that move was supposed to allow Howard to compete for championships, his career started to crumble. The center failed to click with Kobe Bryant and was traded to the Houston Rockets; there, he struggled through injuries before bouncing around the league in a series of trades and waiver wire moves.
In August 2019, however, Howard returned to Los Angeles. While he hasn’t turned to his prime—he’s only averaging 7.5 points and 7.4 rebounds in just under 20 minutes per outing—the big man seems to have saved his career. He’s no longer unhappy and looking to be the center of attention; instead, he’s embraced his role and is happy to help the team succeed.
Dwight Howard has already gotten into trouble in the NBA bubble
As a member of the Los Angeles Lakers, Dwight Howard returned to Florida to complete the 2019-20 NBA season inside the bubble. The big man, however, has already run afoul with some rules.
In order to try to keep everyone safe, the NBA has set up a hotline to report potential safety violations, like failing to maintain social distance or not wearing a mask. According to Shams Charania of The Athletic, several players have already received warnings from the league.
One of those players was Dwight Howard. On Wednesday, the Lakers big man told Brandon Robinson that “somebody told on [him]” using the league’s “snitch hotline.” His crime? Not wearing a mask around the resort.
As Ryan Young noted on Yahoo Sports, however, it’s possible that Howard was the one who snitched on himself. During his time in the bubble, the center shared several videos on social media, showing that he isn’t wearing a mask. While a fellow player may have reported Howard’s behavior, the NBA could have simply looked online.
The ‘snitch hotline’ is fast becoming the next NBA joke
As any fan can tell you, every sport has its own inside jokes. It seems like the NBA’s snitch hotline is becoming the latest addition to that list.
Beyond Howard’s run-in with the law, Clippers coach Doc Rivers also discussed the hotline on Wednesday. The NBA veteran jokingly suggested filing false complaints to take rivals like LeBron James and Gregg Popovich out of action. We’re going to be the only team left when I’m done with this hotline thing,” he said, according to Jovan Buha. Some fans have also tossed around similarly humorous hypotheticals, like throwing the opposing team outside of the bubble, forcing them to quarantine during a big game.
Assuming the NBA season is able to resume as planned, there will be plenty of drama and storylines down the stretch. It’s unclear how many of them will pertain to bubble violations and the NBA’s snitch hotline, though.
Stats courtesy of Basketball-Reference