Steve Nash and Mike D’Antoni have mentioned how Dwight Howard was not comfortable in the Lakers offense, and hinted that Dwight was not a good fit and never tried to be. This was obvious from a fan’s point of view, still interesting to hear members of the organization chime in.
Now the Lakers owner, Jim Buss, has admitted that the big man “was never really a Laker.”
Jim insists he’s just following his father’s blueprint, but the Howard situation suggests he missed a page. Instead of Jim spending time with Howard, the team launched a widely derided media campaign that implored “Stay” on billboards. After Howard bolted, Jim turned on his former star, saying he wasn’t surprised or dismayed. “He was never really a Laker,” says Jim. “He was just passing through.”
The Lakers have one of the richest histories in the NBA, and all of North American sports, with fans and members of the organization viewing the team as a brotherhood or fraternity of sorts. So when a player shuns them, they view it as something the player did wrong, and never the franchise’s. It did seem that Howard never fully bought into the culture, but on the flip side, to become a true Laker you have to show results, so the fans never truly accepted him either.