Just as the Lakers appeared to jet out of the entrance tunnel, they stopped.
Well, except Dwight Howard.
The Lakers center made his debut at Staples Center by, well, storming onto the court by himself. The entire team waited several seconds before following Howard.
“That was supposed to be something for rookies,” Howard said after the Lakers’ 99-92 preseason loss Sunday to the Sacramento Kings. “They got me.”
They sure did.
Lakers forward Pau Gasol waited nearly a full 10 seconds before finally catching up to Howard. By the time everyone reached the court, Gasol laughed with Howard near the scorer’s table.
So whose idea was it to play a prank on Howard?
” I don’t know,” Lakers guard Bryant said. “It wasn’t mine. I don’t play those games … I didn’t know that was going to happen. They didn’t tell me that.”
But Bryant seemed cool with it. After all, it turned out that little prank provide a good ice breaker for Howard, who admitted feeling nervous appearing in his first game since having back surgery six months ago.
More importantly, Howard followed suit by posting 19-points on eight-of-12 shooting, 12 rebounds and four blocks in 33 minutes.
“He was aggressive running the floor,” Gasol joked regarding Howard’s player entrance.
“He got out really hard and was excited to get out there. Steve [Nash] held me back. I was the second guy. He held me back and let me get out there first. It worked. I didn’t expect it.”
That’s because of one simple reason.
“It was on the spot,” Nash said. “We have that kind of spontaneity in this locker room.”
Follow L.A. Daily News Lakers beat writer Mark Medina on Twitter.