Family and business don’t always mix well. Nine seasons into his NBA career, it’s a lesson Dwight Howard has finally come to learn. The Los Angeles Lakers center has severed ties with Kevin Samples, Howard’s cousin and longtime business manager. Per the OC Register: “Howard is growing all on his own, single-mindedly focused on who he wants to be, and he has taken another major step forward in his career by leaving the business manager who has been Howard’s primary advisor his entire career, Kevin Samples. ‘We had nine great years together,’ Howard said. ‘Just time to go separate ways.’ For all the intangible growth Howard has discovered recently, breaking away from Samples is a concrete gesture that the past is the past – and Howard is confident in calling his own shots in the future. ‘I know what I want to accomplish,’ Howard said. ‘I’ve always written down my goals and everything I want, and I want to make sure I get ‘em. Everything I’ve lost, everything that’s gone away, I’m going to get it back.’ Samples came to Los Angeles with Howard after the trade to the Lakers, and it was hard to envision him not being around considering they’re actually first cousins – and Howard’s parents dispatched Samples to live with Howard in Orlando right after the 2004 NBA draft as a big brother/guidance counselor/business manager. Their relationship grew into Dwight Howard Enterprises, which had two and only two officers: Howard and Samples. For Howard to sever the tie is no small statement. ‘He’s still my cousin, my family, so we’ll always be around each other,’ Howard said. ‘But we just parted ways on the business side.’”