Countless stories of Kobe Bryant’s ruthlessness have come out over the years. He did whatever it took to win and didn’t care who he crossed in the process.
Dwight Howard was one of those players he had a rocky relationship with, as the two stars never clicked during the season they played together on the Los Angeles Lakers. But also during that year, Bryant surprised Howard by revealing his love for an unexpected movie.
According to Howard, Kobe was a big Pitch Perfect fan and ended up getting the star center hooked on it as well.
Kobe Bryant and Dwight Howard played on the Lakers together
After seeing the Miami Heat find success with a Big Three in the previous two seasons, the Lakers tried to put multiple stars around Kobe Bryant in 2012-13.
But things didn’t quite work out.
The Lakers could never get things going that year. Bryant played well, averaging 27.3 points to go with 6.0 assists and 5.6 rebounds, but Howard’s scoring numbers took a dip (20.6 points to 17.1 points per game), and LA started 25-29 through the first 54 games of the season.
The Lake Show eventually turned things around and earned the No. 7 seed in the Western Conference, but Bryant suffered a season-ending Achilles injury during the 80th game of the year. The Spurs then swept Los Angeles in the first round of the playoffs, and Howard left to sign with the Houston Rockets in free agency during the offseason.
“I tried teaching Dwight. I tried showing him,” Bryant said of Howard to USA Today in 2015. “But the reality is that when you have a perception of what it is to win a championship — and most perceptions of what it’s like to win are a very outgoing, very gregarious locker room where you pick each other up and you’re friends all the time. … I think that’s what his perception was of what the idea is. But when he saw the reality of it, it made him uncomfortable. … I don’t think he was willing to deal with that uncomfortable and combative nature.”
Kobe introduced Dwight to ‘Pitch Perfect’
Despite the team’s issues that season, Howard still had an enjoyable memory from his time with Kobe.
“After he tore his Achilles, I went to his house to check up on him, to see how he was doing, and he came out the room, he was like, ‘Ay, Dwight. I just got finished watching Pitch Perfect,’” Howard recalled during the 2020 All-Star weekend, per NBA on ESPN’s Twitter. “… I was thinking to myself, ‘I know Kobe ain’t watching Pitch Perfect; he’s lying.’ He was just like, ‘Man, Pitch Perfect is one of my favorite movies.’ And I was like, ‘That’s crazy.’ I never would’ve thought that Kobe Bryant would be in his room watching a movie like Pitch Perfect.”
Yeah, as Howard said, that’s pretty hard to fathom. The man who threw away his teammates’ sneakers because they weren’t playing well, who was also an assassin on the court and refused back down from anyone, enjoyed Pitch Perfect, a film about an a capella singing group.
Bryant even tweeted about the movie once, as he said it was his daughter Natalia’s favorite.
But like Kobe, and almost anyone who has sat down and watched it, Howard became a fan of Pitch Perfect as well.
“After he told me about that, I started watching the movie, and I ended up liking the movie myself and watching it all the time,” Howard added.
The Lakers got nothing on the Barden Bellas.
Dwight Howard has since discussed his relationship with Kobe Bryant
Despite things not working out between Dwight Howard and Kobe Bryant during their time on the Lakers, the big man eventually opened up about their relationship following Bryant’s 2020 death.
“I know that I approached that season wanting to be the best version of myself and also the man,” Howard said on Instagram Live in 2020, per Sports Illustrated. “You know, I’m young, I just felt like that at the time. It was really hard for me and Kobe to really communicate. I think we were just at two different mental stages.”
He also admitted that they had their “disagreements” and “moments.”
“Once I left the team, we got into it,” he added, per SI. “And the word is we hate each other. ‘Kobe and Dwight is going back and forth.’ I’m like, ‘Man, it’s not even like that. I was upset about basketball, but I don’t hate this man.'”
Howard eventually proved his admiration for his former teammate by paying homage to him during the 2020 Slam Dunk Contest. Although they had their differences, it appears he now has nothing but love for the NBA icon.
Maybe, at the end of the day, they just sat down and bonded over Pitch Perfect and let bygones be bygones. (OK, probably not, but it’s funny to imagine them singing the songs together.)
Stats courtesy of Basketball Reference