(Cedric Ceballos, shown during a rare moment in which he wasn’t showing Kobe Bryant what it takes to be a blindfolded slam dunk champion)

Free agent C Dwight Howard has no shortage of suitors, amongst them the club who traded for him last summer, the Los Angeles Lakers. A contingent of Mike D’Antoni, Steve Nash and Kobe Bryant descended upon Howard yesterday and campaigned for the 27 year old’s return, a initiative Chris Broussard predicts will be fruitless given the tone of Bryant. Much as I’m loathe to rely on the unidentified source (that I’m about to quote), it seems Bryant’s brand of tough love could loosely be translated as, “Dwight, put aside your own career goals in favor of giving me a long-shot chance at a 6th ring.” From Yahoo Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski :

Bryant didn’t come to Howard’s recruitment meeting in Beverly Hills to appease him, but to challenge Howard to stay and embrace the burden of the franchise’s culture and embrace Bryant’s demanding disposition. Bryant invoked Michael Jordan’s hard-driving ways as his blueprint, and how it pushed the Chicago Bulls to six titles.

Bryant, a five-time NBA champion, insisted he wouldn’t retreat in pushing Howard every day, that as much as the Lakers needed Howard, Howard needed Bryant and the Lakers, too.

“You have to learn how it’s done,” Bryant told Howard, witnesses described. “I know how to do it and I’ve learned from the best – players who have won multiple times over and over.”

“Instead of trying to do things your way, just listen and learn and tweak it, so it fits you,” Bryant told him.

Indeed, Kobe did learn much from such sure thing Hall Of Famers as Nick Van Excel and Eddie Jones. However, if he was really trying to give Howard some solid advice about how to best win a title, surely mugging Steve Nash would be somewhere on the checklist?