Originally written on Jocks and Stiletto Jill  |  Last updated 3/10/13

One of the first thoughts I had when Dwight Howard was traded to the Lakers was that playing with Kobe would “man him up.” Call me a profit, Dwight recently revealed that it has not only shown him how to be a better man but a better professional as well. “It’s going to make me a better man and a better player from watching Kobe,” Howard said. “Besides just the expectations,” he said. “In games, I mess up and there’s somebody in the crowd saying something and I’m ready to snap at ‘em. That’s not what we’re supposed to do. “But you look at a guy like Kobe and he doesn’t care about nothing but going out there and playing hard. That’s a lesson a lot of us have to learn — especially young guys.” “I told him [Bryant]: ‘I’m afraid to miss. When I get out there, I don’t want to miss, and I end up missing.’ And he was like: ‘You know what? Shoot 1,000 jumpshots a day. You’re going to miss a lot of those shots. But that’s OK. Because you’re teaching yourself it’s OK to miss.’ “Now I see it. He gets out there and he might miss a couple 3s, but then he’ll make nine in a row. You see that and it just kind of gives you more inspiration.” Following Vino’s incredible back to back performances against the New Orleans Pelicans (Hornets) and The Toronto Raptors. Kobe said that a huge part of his youthful rejuvination is due to diet. Dwight counts a change in his diet as one of the reasons he’s performed better on the court since the all-star break.  ”I just told myself, ‘I’m going to commit myself to being better for the second half of the season. “ That meant cutting sugar completely out of his diet so he could get into the kind of shape he needed to be in to be the Lakers’ defensive anchor and run coach Mike D’Antoni’s pick-and-roll sets. Good for Dwight. It’s almost been a year since his back surgery and he’s starting to round into shape and the Lakers are coming on. Kobe’s playoff guarantee looks solid. It’s hard to imagine Dwight not returning to LA. I think this season, though difficult, has been great for him and overall he’ll be better for it.

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