We knew there was friction between Kobe Bryant and Dwight Howard, but no one expected their hostile relationship to spill on to the court when the Los Angeles Lakers hosted Houston Rockets at Staples Center on Wednesday.
In the fourth quarter of the game, and with the Lakers trailing big, the two former teammates squared up over a rebound that Howard had grabbed. Not impressed with getting beaten to the loose ball, Kobe immediately closed in on the Rockets' big man and tried to force a turnover.
Howard swung his massive elbows from side to side, hoping to stave off Bryant, twice catching the Black Mamba in the face. It seemed as if the 36-year-old would retaliate, but the referee's whistle and teammates came in the way. Instead, he sufficed with calling Dwight "soft" and some "try me" jibes.
The altercation netted Bryant and Howard personal and flagrant fouls, respectively. Both were also given double technicals.
GIF: Kobe Bryant to Dwight Howard after tussle: "soft" http://t.co/qcydRZ0rIT— Ben Golliver (@BenGolliver) October 29, 2014
GIF: Kobe Bryant to Dwight Howard after tussle: "Try Me" http://t.co/lzgVr20L4P— Ben Golliver (@BenGolliver) October 29, 2014
Once the game was over with a resounding 108-90 loss for the Lakers, Bryant was asked about the altercation:
Kobe on scuffle with DH: "I think it's fantastic. Trash-talking is part of the game. I don't know where the NBA became so sensitive."— Mike Bresnahan (@Mike_Bresnahan) October 29, 2014
Kobe on DH: "He's a teddy bear. You can't help but like him. But when you're competing, you have a goal in mind...we didn't see eye to eye."— Mike Bresnahan (@Mike_Bresnahan) October 29, 2014
It seems unreal that these two quarreling superstars were teammates just a year ago. Who remembers this?
Check out the whole incident here.