Now in his 13th NBA season and playing for his fourth team, Dwight Howard has nowhere to go but up. The once-dominant center saw his reputation fall apart because of the way he left Orlando, and his legacy as an all-time great defender flickered in one forgettable season with the Lakers, before fading with a drama-filled tenure as a Houston Rocket. To say he’s at basketball’s rock bottom might be a little extreme, but if his career ended today, the 30-year-old would be best remembered for the way Stan Van Gundy walked him into an excruciatingly awkward media trap, his thirstiness for a former porn star, his much-talked-about virility, or simply for his love of farting.
Fortunately for Howard and the Atlanta Hawks, his career is far from over and, in fact, he is showing glimpses of a Superman we haven’t seen since his days in blue pinstripes. At 4-2, the Hawks certainly appear to be getting the best from their deal with Howard, who gets to play the role of hometown hero. Of course, they’ve also benefited from playing a pretty easy schedule through six games, with victories over the winless 76ers, 1-4 Wizards (whose one win was against Atlanta), and the 3-5 Kings. Their latest win, however, came against Howard’s previous team, the Rockets, and the aftermath may be proving that Howard has done the unthinkable and actually grown up.
Just as he did last week prior to playing the Lakers, when he was asked about Kobe Bryant’s retirement (“Let Kobe retire in peace”), Howard refused to give the media and/or his old team bulletin board material. Asked about his relationship with James Harden in the wake of their seemingly tumultuous breakup, Howard took the high road and simply praised the guy who reportedly tried to force the Rockets to trade him.
“Everybody is always looking for a beef between a player when they leave a team,” Howard said. “There’s no beef. Both of us came from nothing and we made it. I’ll never be mad or hate on another player because he made it. His dream came true. I’m happy for him, and hopefully he’ll continue to play great.” (Via ESPN)