Dwight Howard

Dwight Howard downplayed Kobe Bryant’s pitch as a reason for leaving the Lakers for Houston and claimed he was already a winner in an interview with The Times’ T.J. Simers.

In the Lakers’ meeting with Howard on Tuesday, Bryant reportedly told Howard he should listen to Bryant more often to learn how to become a champion.

“People twisted a lot of things he said,” Howard said Friday night. “I haven’t won a championship but I’m in the NBA. That’s winning. I’m blessed to be able to play this game, blessed to come out of back surgery. Winning isn’t all about just having a championship, but winning in life. Kobe never challenged that and nothing he said had anything to do with my decision. I respect Kobe, know who he is, but this is about me and going in a different direction.”

Reported by Mike Bresnahan of theĀ Los Angeles Times