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Kevin Durant and Kobe Bryant: What do you think of Dwight Howard now?

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Will Dwight's peers ever change their perceptions of his toughness?

Dwight And Kobe
Dwight And Kobe
Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

As long as Dwight Howard is completely healed from his injury in the Western Conference Finals last year, the news that came out about last week got me excited. The fact that he kept it silent and played through his injuries, and played very well, adds to his legacy. And, should go a little way to placating the haters.

If you want to know how "soft" Howard is, you need to look no further games 2 through 5 of last year's Western Conference Finals. Playing with a torn MCL and meniscus, Howard averaged 37 minutes, over 16 points and nearly 16 rebounds a game. If he can do that injured, what can he do in the playoffs this year if he's healthy? How soft is that, Kobe? But, the only sure fire way to shut everyone up (or make them all even more jealous) is to win a championship.

Dwight is the Rodney Dangerfield of the NBA, he don't get no respect. Here's a video where Kobe called Dwight soft last year.

How about the trash talking between Durant and the Rockets, where Durant, in street clothes, calls Howard a P**SY?

LaMarcus Aldridge used the same slur against Howard in 2014.

What is it about Howard that invites this trash talking? Are they jealous? Maybe it's his three consecutive Defensive Player of the Year awards? Maybe it's his slam dunk championship? Maybe it's his five rebounding titles? Or, his Olympic Gold Medal? Is it the fact that he's a smiling, happy Christian?

Kobe's rings give him some leeway, but he's insanely jealous. Dwight walked from the Lakers and is playing for a winner, while Kobe is circling the drain in LA with that fat contract that has doomed the Lakers.

The fact that this could be a contract year for Howard, the fact that the Rockets are legit contenders and the news about last year's injury lead me to believe Howard could be an even more dominating presence for Houston this year.