Yahoo Sports reports that when Lakers star Kobe Bryant spoke with free agent center Dwight Howard at their meeting Tuesday, there was no ring kissing (or kissing of anything else). Bryant did what he always does, brought the highest level of competitive spirit possible and came off as abrasive but honest.
"You need to learn how it's done first, and I can teach you here," Bryant told Howard during the Lakers' presentation, witnesses in the room described to Yahoo! Sports.
"You have to learn how it's done," Bryant told Howard, witnesses described. "I know how to do it and I've learned from the best – players who have won multiple times over and over."
"Instead of trying to do things your way, just listen and learn and tweak it, so it fits you," Bryant told him.
"You have to learn how it's done," Bryant told Dwight Howard on the way out of the Lakers, or maybe the way back into them.
People that should be surprised Bryant took this approach: No one.
But was this the right approach? No.
Think of it this way.
A lot of times an employer won't be honest about how difficult a job is, or the hard personalities involved. You want the employee excited about the opportunity. Once they're there, you can introduce them to the challenges and the reward for overcoming those. But the big problem here isn't the portrayal of how hard greatness is to achieve. It's that Bryant's acting like he's the only human being to have success on the basketball court, ever. A lot of great players have discovered their own way.
Bryant's pitch should have been about how they could accomplish great things, but the takeaway from this little speech is that Bryant can allow Howard to have greatness. He can give it to him, like a bonus check while the CEO, Bryant, collects all the profits. It doesn't engage Howard as an active participant in the greatness Howard wants to aspire to. Bryant can be great, and share that with Howard.
Not a great way to sell a guy who as his own firm ideas about what he wants for his career, for his life, for his way of success.
You can't be surprised Bryant went this route, but you wonder how Howard will respond. Is he willing to be Bryant's lapdog? That's the question now.
Howard is in Aspen, Colorado debating his options with his agents after visiting with teams this week and is expected to issue a decision sometime in the next week.