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Lakers’ Dwight Howard speaks for the first time on Kobe Bryant’s passing

Dwight Howard, Kobe Bryant, Lakers

LOS ANGELES – The passing of Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant impacted a lot of people around the world. Bryant’s tragic death not only sent shockwaves throughout the world filled with his fans and those that he touched, but it also had a profound impact on Dwight Howard, who not always saw eye-to-eye with the relentless competitor.

After the Lakers made easy work of the San Antonio Spurs on Tuesday night at the Staples Center, Howard talked to the media for the first time about his former teammate’s passing.

“I was extremely hurt,” Howard said of Kobe’s passing. “It really hurt me bad. I didn’t know what to do or say, but I was extremely hurt. Still kind of lost for words. It doesn’t seem real that it happened. I never expected in a million years we’d be talking about Kobe passing away.

“It was very sad. There were nights where I just cried myself to sleep just thinking about it, and it still hurts to this day. It’s kind of hard to talk about it because I just get these overwhelming feelings from it, but he meant a lot to a lot of people, as you could see from the love around the world that everybody received and how hurt everybody was. I could tell that people were deeply saddened.”

Although these two NBA superstars had a complicated relationship during their time playing together during the 2012-13 NBA season, Howard and Bryant seemed to have repaired their fractured relationship with Kobe giving the veteran center high praise for turning his career around.

Dwight opened up about that relationship with Bryant and how things were difficult due to the fact many believed the two hated each other, along with missing his chance to make things right before he passed away.

“It was just really hard,” Dwight said. “For me, a lot of people thought that me and Kobe hated each other and stuff like that. There were times we just didn’t understand each other, and I didn’t get a chance to tell him how appreciative I was for our time together and how thankful I was to be back here in L.A. That was pretty hard for me.”

Howard is one of many in the Lakers organization that has found it difficult to come to terms with Bryant’s passing and understandably so, especially with such a complicated relationship.

Fortunately, Dwight has the opportunity to honor his former teammate this season along with the rest of this talented Lakers team and attempt to win a championship for this franchise for the first time since Kobe raised the Larry O’Brien Trophy back in 2010.