by Marcel Mutoni / @marcel_mutoni

When discussing Dwight Howard’s game (and personality), fans and media generally have three complaints: his offensive repertoire isn’t developed enough, he doesn’t shoot free throws well, and Howard just smiles too damn much.

Dwight is more than willing to work on the first two gripes; it’s the last one that he has major issues with. So, when Skip Bayless — he of the loud, angry, and utterly meaningless rants on television — said he prefers the aging Tim Duncan over Dwight, the gentle giant responded rather sharply.

The Orlando Sentinel captured Dwight Howard’s reaction last night:

“I think everybody has a problem with anything I do on the floor. We got to the Finals last year with the same way I played this year. I’m not going to change who I am, I’m not going to change my personality. I’m not going to change anything about me. I’ve been playing basketball since I was three years old. I never changed one part of myself in this game. I’ve gotten a lot better since I’ve been playing basketball, but one thing that has always been consistent is I’m going to have fun out there. Basketball brings me joy. I don’t care what people say about me smiling too much or having too much fun. Hey, I’m doing something I love. I’m going to be thankful and have fun doing it.”

“I don’t know what he could possibly say. Scottie Pippen said things, also Skip. I know in order to win you gotta work hard and that’s one thing that I do. I work extremely hard on both ends. I might have nights where I might not shoot the ball as well but I’m still going to work hard, I’m still going to play defense and do all the small things. Numbers don’t lie.,,Well Skip Bayless can call me out a million times. I don’t think he’s ever put on a jock strap, stepped on the floor and played any type of basketball. That’s his job. That’s their job to criticize players. Only people that we have to listen to are our coaches. Those are the guys that get paid to make us better players.’

For whatever reason, people don’t like the idea of an athlete — especially an elite one — playing the game with a smile on their face. It leads people to believe that the player doesn’t take the game seriously enough.

Unfortunately for Dwight, until he wins a title doing things his own jovial way, he’ll continue to hear this petty criticism. Hell, it might even continue after that. That’s life in the media age. Sorry, D12.