The Lakers on Monday denied a story in the New York Daily News that Dwight Howard and Kobe Bryant were involved in a scuffle after the team’s Jan. 1 loss to the Philadelphia 76ers. Howard, Bryant and Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni said the report, based on a unnamed source, was untrue.
D’Antoni played a small role in trying to lighten the mood around the team’s training facility, posing as a peacemaker as a smiling Bryant and Howard pretended to square off in the locker room. Bryant posted the photo on his new Twitter account and Howard did the same on Instagram.
“It’s funny,” Howard said without smiling. “We’re losing. Every little story that comes out is geared toward breaking our team up. But we’re bigger than that. We’re stronger than that. We’re not going going to let anything divide us. Somebody has something against our team. It’s not us. Me and Kobe don’t have a problem with each other. It’s ridiculous. I just think it’s funny.”
Bryant labeled the report of a locker-room rumble as “not true.” He also said, “It’s just been a tough year for everybody. When you go through a lot of adversity, it challenges you. Then it becomes something whether you choose to fight or you chose to run away from it. I believe we’ll choose to fight it.”