Dwight Howard was one of the best centers we have seen on this side of the millennium, as the three-time Defensive Player of the Year dominated with the Orlando Magic.
He started to fall down the ranks quickly due to injuries, something that started during his stint with the Lakers in 2013 when he played alongside Kobe Bryant. He also played on the Lakers under LeBron James in 2020, comparing the leadership styles of the two NBA legends.
"LeBron's almost at like somebody from the south side of Georgia. We actin' kind of like twins. Joking, (being) silly, having a good time. We get on the court, we still gonna have a good time but we're gonna dominate. Kobe, he not bulls***ing with nobody. He might not come to the locker room to talk, so he's just gonna walk all the way past us."
Howard was disappointed when he joined the Lakers as Kobe's co-star as the team would not live up to their superteam potential. Howard averaged 17.1 points, 12.4 rebounds, and 2.4 blocks in his one season with the team.
He was signed on a non-guaranteed contract by the 2019-20 Lakers, playing his way into a roster spot. He was integral to the rotation by the end of the season as the Lakers lifted the title. He rejoined the team for their disastrous 21-22 season, averaging 6.8 points, 6.3 rebounds, and 0.8 blocks over his two seasons with LeBron.
There's no way of saying one style is better than the other. Kobe's isolation of teammates due to his quest to win was admirable for many but also alienated players. This included Shaquille O'Neal but usually impacted role-players that couldn't match Kobe's commitment.
James is known to have gotten the best out of role-players on his roster his entire career due to a more jovial and friendly attitude in the locker room. However, that has also meant he's had to personally shoulder most of the load on the rosters he's taken to the Finals.
Kobe won five titles, two as the Finals MVP while James has been the centerpiece for all four of his championship wins. They both are proven successes, but their styles impact different players differently.