Feb 8, 2013

Howard must learn to deal with pressure

It only seems like yesterday that Dwight Howard was all smiles at the Lakers press conference, as he was introduced as a Los Angeles Laker. With a season riddled with injuries, coaching changes, and high expectations, it seems that Howard has not found his flow with the team yet. To play in a city like Los Angeles, you have to be tough skinned and take criticism. The LA media is one of the toughest in all of sports. With his first season as a Laker, Howard has not grown accustomed to the pressures of the media, fans, and even teammates. If he does intend to stay in LA, he must learn to deal with all of it.

In Orlando, Howard was a big fish in a little pond. In Los Angeles, he's a little fish in a big pond. He has never played with someone like Kobe Bryant. Bryant is the ultimate competitor, doing whatever it takes for his team to win. Even if it means playing through multiple injuries, as demonstrated throughout his career. Howard hasn't played through much adversity until recently with the whole Orlando fiasco. What the Lakers are going through, is much bigger. Expectations in Los Angeles are always high. The Lakers have set that standard for many years. When players don the purple and gold jersey, you have to go out there and play with pride and passion every night. At times, it seems that Howard doesn't seem to understand that or play that way. There are going to be bumps and bruises, but thats just part of it. Will he eventually get there? I believe so, but that all depends if he returns next season as a Los Angeles Laker.

All great players must fight through pressure and adversity in their professional careers. Howard is barely getting a taste of it right now. He has the ability to become one of the greats, but he also has to lead by example and play every night as though it were his last. The Lakers are intent that Howard will re-sign with the team next season. Bryant is at the twilight of his career, and will most likely hand the reins to Howard if he decides to stay in LA. Howard must embrace the troubles that go along with being a great player and a Laker. Only then will he learn to be a leader and champion.

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