Atlanta Hawks center Dwight Howard is in his 13th season, and he wants to play seven more. From Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated:
I want to get to 20 years. Now I’m at 13.
Howard firmly believes that he will be inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame:
Do you feel like you’ve built a resume worthy of induction into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame?
No doubt. It’s kind of got swept under the rug because the perception of all the things that happened in Orlando. All of the media stuff. If you look at basketball itself, and I don’t ever talk about myself, but winning three Defensive Player of the Year trophies has never been done. Leading the league in rebounding six straight years. All that kind of stuff, I think that deserves it.
Howard is right; he was a truly dominant player in Orlando, and he absolutely deserves a Hall of Fame induction.
Howard wanted a trade to the Brooklyn Nets, back when he was playing under dysfunctional management in Orlando:
It had nothing to do with the team. They said they were going to try to move me. I thought it was going to happen. They came in and said, ‘We’re going to trade you.’ They shook my hand and said, ‘God bless you. You were here for eight years and you did a great job.’ They asked me to go shake my teammates’ hands. I went and shook their hands and told them that the team was going to trade me. I woke up the next day and they said, ‘We’re not going to trade you.’
This was right after the [2011 NBA] lockout. I was supposed to get traded right before training camp. I had asked them to trade me to Brooklyn and I thought that was going to happen. They decided they weren’t going to trade me and that was when all hell broke loose. People said I was doing this in the locker room, doing that. But I’ve never been that kind of guy. I told my agent, ‘Listen, they want me here, so I will just stay here until the end of the season and I’ll make a decision after that. Let’s not fight it. Let’s not go back and forth. Let’s not talk about it.’
Howard also said that, despite countering reports, he never had any issue with Rockets guard James Harden:
But like I’ve always said, I’ve never had a personal issue with James. Why? Everything he is doing now, everything he is coming into, I’ve been that player. The awards, all that, the accolades. I wasn’t there to try to compete against him. I wanted to win with him.
In his Orlando days, Dwight Howard was one of the most dominant centers of all time. Since then, in stints with the Los Angeles Lakers and Houston Rockets, Howard has slowed down as varying injuries and his age have taken a heavy toll on his body. And Howard, a physically imposing monster of a man in his prime, relies heavily on his strength and athleticism.
Now, Howard is a very good but not great center. He’s still an excellent defender, but his offensive game — which he never developed — is limited. He had no reason to work on his post game in his prime; he could turn around and dunk over anybody. Now that he can’t do that as regularly, Howard doesn’t get many post touches. His reduced role in Houston’s offense infuriated him. In Atlanta, for whatever reason (maybe it’s because he’s playing in his hometown, maybe he’s just accepted that he isn’t what he once was), he has yet to complain.