Lakers legend KAREEM ABDUL-JABBAR appeared on ESPN’s First Take last Thursday, giving his honest opinion of KOBE BRYANT’s Achilles injury recovery and how it will effect the Lakers this season but perhaps what was most scathing was Cap’s assessment of DWIGHT HOWARD’s game. Abdul-Jabbar said Howard lacks the mental toughness and necessary basketball I.Q. needed to be a dominant center…
Video courtesy: ESPN
Kareem’s critique of Dwight Howard’s game may be seen as sour grapes by Laker faithful for his departure from Los Angeles after only one season (and some of it is), but moreover, it is an honest assessment of Howard’s skills. And Kareem should know. He’s only the greatest scorer in the history of basketball.
When told of Kareem’s assessment on Friday, Dwight had this response:
“Well you know, I don’t pay any attention to that stuff. I did hear about it but everybody is entitled to their own opinion. When I joined the Lakers, I was the greatest center and then when I left, I was the worst, mentally I wasn’t capable of playing center. I understand that a lot of things are said out of emotion but I would say that if he has anything to say, I’m here in Houston. We can talk man to man. That’s how I feel about it…
“I mean, it’s emotion and the fact that I left the Lakers. It is what it is. I’m in a great place right now. And there’s no need for me to go back and forth with him. The one thing I would say is that he’s old enough that whatever I do, doesn’t even matter to him.
“I mean, he’s Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. If I’m Kareem, I’m like ‘why?’ Four championships, five championships, whatever (note: six). I’ve been in Airplane, did movies with Bruce Lee. I’m not worried about the young whippersnappers, you know. Just wish him good luck. But people do things different and when I’m done playing I’m going to do whatever I can to help the next generation get better.” —Rockets center Dwight Howard
Howard’s attitude towards Abdul-Jabbar’s criticism is obviously hostile. Instead of feeling dissed, Howard should heed what Kareem is saying and develop his game. Why do you think Shaq never has an encouraging word for Howard’s game? It’s because Dwight relies too much on his God-given talent and puts very little focus on the skills and fundamentals needed to be a dominant center.
That and his inability to get serious when the moment calls for it. I never thought he’d do well in L.A. anyhow. Dwight just wasn’t cut out for what it takes to be among the great Laker centers that ever played.
Howard may have boosted Houston’s playoff stock by joining the Rockets, but until he understands that surrounding yourself around talented, young players is only part of the title equation, he’ll likely never accomplish even one half of what Kareem did in his career.
Maybe not even a third.