Originally posted on NESN.com  |  Last updated 2/21/13
Some people say that Dwight Howard doesn’t take basketball seriously, and that his fun-loving nature often gets in the way of him doing his job on the court. But Howard is still pretty effective as a player, making others wonder whether his personality is a problem or just something that people (Kobe Bryant!) like to fixate on when things go wrong. Give Bryant’s camp a point on this one. If this report from the All-Star game, where Gregg Popovich was coaching the Western Conference squad, is correct, then it seems like Howard’s fun and games don’t jive that well with championship-caliber basketball. Stephen A. Smith chimed in on Mike and Mike in the Morning, giving further evidence that Howard may not have the mental focus that some of the game’s most serious prefer. “I haven’t seen anybody report it, so I guess I’ll be the first,” Smith said, as transcribed by SportsGrid. “Let me tell you something right now. Coach Gregg Popovich dropped a few F-bombs in Dwight Howard’s direction during the All-Star break. Now why is that, guys? During a timeout, Gregg Popovich drew up a play, according to my sources, for Dwight Howard, in the game. “Except, when it was time to run the play, Dwight Howard wasn’t in the game, wasn’t paying attention, was on the bench, in his warm-ups, chilling out, and socializing with folks. And Gregg Popovich almost went ballistic and basically, was cussing at him, according to numerous people that I spoke to since this weekend. “All of that speaks to the level of focus, or lack thereof, that the Kobe Bryants and others have alluded to with their comments over the last few months.” Howard has been dealing with injuries and the adjustment of playing with a new team, but stories like this don’t help his case much.

This article first appeared on NESN.com and was syndicated with permission.

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