Los Angeles Lakers' Kobe Bryant has moved to quash rumours of a rift between him and centre Dwight Howard following his comments last week.
Howard missed three games for the Lakers resting his injured shoulder, despite being medically cleared to play and Bryant had called for him to show some "urgency" in his return.
There had since been widespread reports of a conflict between the two but rather than deny his words had been taken out of context, Bryant believes the American media escalated the issue.
"I didn't say anything wrong. I didn't say anything to hammer him over the head or take a run at him," Bryant told ESPN. "That was actually manufactured. I'd own up to it if I took a run at somebody.
"Urgency is something we've been trumpeting; we've been beating that drum since the beginning of the season when we started struggling."
Bryant also revealed he has reached out to Howard to explain his comments and diffuse the situation.