Though both players have denied that there was ever any discord among them, rumors persisted that Dwight Howard initially didn’t want to play for the Lakers due to Kobe Bryant. According to Howard, not only is he ready to learn from Bryant as much as he can, but their partnership began long before they were teammates. Reports SI: “The current Lakers center — who was known to have reservations about being overshadowed by Bryant before joining him — said their foundation is far more solid than most people realize. ‘What people don’t know is that this is one of the guys who I’ve been talking to for about four years now,’ Howard said. ‘And he has been an amazing help to me, just pushing me in ways — secretly because we played in the Eastern and Western Conference. But it’s been him just talking to me, showing me how to do certain things with my team and things like that.’ The goal, of course, is for Howard to be the best Howard he can be. Happy, healthy and — perhaps one day — a Hall of Famer. ‘I told [Bryant] as soon as I got here, ‘Hey, I want to be one of the greatest to ever play. I want you to push me every day,’ Howard said. ‘And he was like, ‘I’m going to push you, because I see something in you, and I want to make sure that I do my part.’ And I promised him that I’m going to do whatever I can do.’”