As the old guy in this new superstar partnership, Kobe Bryant is looking forward to showing Dwight Howard the ropes, before he rides off into the sunset. Howard for his part, says that he’s excited to learn all that he can from Bryant, even if it comes in the form of some very tough love. Per the OC Register: “It’s not yet about meeting the expectations. It’s still about the giddy excitement from the Lakers having Howard. And after the mass flooding he escaped in Orlando, Howard needs these hopeful, sunny smiles to savor before anyone gets into the down-and-dirty business of actually winning an NBA title. Mere calm before the storm wouldn’t have cut it. ‘This,’ he said Monday, ‘is one of the happiest moments of my life.’ […] ‘He’s just very thankful to be here, just feels very blessed to be here,’ said Bryant, who reported ‘great communication over the summer’ with Howard. ‘Having gone through that whole ordeal and to finally be in a position where he’s finally excited and ready to go, it just feels like a blessing.’ The truth is that having Bryant here is one epic reason why no sense of pressure has engulfed Howard – and none will anytime soon, either. Bryant is not prepared to hand over anything to Howard. Bryant is full-on, Boy-Scout-ready as far as preparing to be prepared, though. ‘I got a question earlier about whose team this is,’ Bryant said. ‘I don’t want to get into the ‘Well, we share’ (response). No, it’s my team, all right? But I want to make sure that Dwight, when I retire, this is going to be his. I want to teach him everything I possibly know, so that when I step away, this organization can ride on like I never left.’ […] Howard said has had numerous conversations along those lines with Bryant: ‘Learning from Kobe, this is something I think I need for myself so I can grow as a player and a person. He’s been through almost every situation possible, on the court and off the court. And I think he can really help me out a lot.’ Howard also said: ‘I know he’s going to be tough on me. I expect that. I want him to do that. I want to be that guy. So I’ll take all the heat that he’s going to give me, because I know that at the end of the day it’s going to make me a better player, a better person, and it’s going to make this team better.'”
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