The apparent disdain Kobe Bryant and Dwight Howard have for each other was glaring in the fourth quarter of their season-opener on Tuesday night.
Bryant blanketed the Houston Rockets center as he looked to make an outlet pass from underneath his own basket. Howard then tried to create some separation with his elbows and struck Bryant in the chin. After a foul was called on Howard, the two started jawing at each other and had to be separated. The officials reviewed the play, handing Bryant a personal foul, Howard a flagrant foul 1 and hitting both with a technical foul.
While the two were trash-talking on the court, Bryant appeared to be telling Howard to "Try me." Bryant continued the trash-talk during the review, staring at Howard from the Lakers' bench and saying, "You're soft."
(GIF via @cjzero)
Bryant, who reportedly was "a complete turnoff" to Howard when the Lakers tried to re-sign him as a free agent in the summer of 2013, was asked after the Lakers' 108-90 loss if he dislikes his former teammate.
"He's a teddy bear," Bryant said, via the Los Angeles Times. "You can't help but like him. I really mean that. He's a really nice kid. But when you're competing and you have a goal in mind. Certain times we don't see eye to eye."
Lakers head coach Byron Scott had a different take on the altercation.
"They don't like each other, simple as that," Scott said, per ESPN.com.