Deep breath. Deep breath. Don’t let that anger or jubilation or frustration boil over too much. Everyone’s ecstatic that the Dwightmare is finally over, but no one’s too pleased that the Los Angeles Lakers, once again, reeled in the best center in the league. George Mikan, Wilt Chamberlain, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Shaq, Andrew Bynum, now Dwight Howard. But it’s not really over, because, as ESPN’s Marc Stein put it last night on SportsCenter, he wants to “test drive” Los Angeles. Yep, this could all mean that the Lakers deal Howard at the deadline because he refuses to sign an extension (That’s admittedly an unlikley scenario because L.A. will not want to disrupt their title chances, even if that means they lose Howard for nothing. That’s what would have happened to Bynum anyway.) or he drags on his free agency in July 2013. But, at least for now, we’ve got months of respite and relaxation, and we can focus on the misery of our own teams.
Howard did have some good years down in Orlando, as his NBA Defensive Player of the Year three-peat would suggest, and there was a time when we liked that big and affable goofball. So let’s look back at the better moments, when we appreciated, as opposed to villified, his athletic genius. Here are his top 10 moments during the Orlando era – or, really, the top moments of his career thus far.
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10. Dwight Howard smacks John Wall’s layup off the backboard
You’re really not initiated into the NBA until a better player embarrasses the hell out of you, and that’s what we have here. You can even see Howard letting Wall race ahead just to catch him from behind and send that shot all the way out to the free throw line. Don’t worry – there was a time when Howard was on the other side of that initiation, with Kobe Bryant doing the honors.