Maybe you’re familiar with former Oakland Athletics speedster Rickey Henderson and his penchant for speaking about himself in the third person. Maybe you’ve heard it happen with some of the NBA’s superstars (LeBron James’ “Decision” announcement is a good place to start). In a recent Q&A with USA Today‘s Sam Amick, Dwight Howard continued the awkward tradition.
We’re not trying to cut Howard down. He’s played admirably this year despite a lot of media scrutiny following his decision to head to Texas rather than re-sign with the Lakers for substantially more money (which is commendable, by the way). But, throughout the esteemed Sam Amick’s piece on Howard and the extended Q&A section they published later today, Dwight constantly fluctuated between first person and third person references to himself. It was infuriating from a reading standpoint, and there’s probably a psychological reason Dwight sometimes jumped into illeism, but we’re not qualified or smart enough to attempt and understand the motives for the practice (neither is Yahoo answers). Instead, we’ll just provide examples:
On being asked about his free agency decision to leave LA for Houston when he recently returned to Staples Center to take on the Clippers:
“I think I made the best decision for Dwight, and who cares what everybody else says? People are going to love. They’re going to hate me. But hey, at least they feel something. Love, hate, at least that’s an emotion. Obviously they care. And I care about what I do with my life, and I’m going to continue to say that this is the best decision for Dwight.”
On his reputation among his critics:
“I keep playing basketball, keep playing hard, keep being Dwight, and people will see that.”
And finally to end Amick’s main piece:
“I came to a place where I could be Dwight,” Howard said. “This is the perfect place for that. These people have no reason to judge me for everything. This is a fresh start.
“I came here saying, ‘I’m going to be Dwight Howard. I’m going to be who I’ve been for the last 27 years, and I’ve never been a bad person. I’ve never been a bad guy.
Talking about yourself in the third person isn’t new in the media outside of sports, either. Bob Dole did so constantly when he was campaigning for President in 1996. More recently, Herman Cain referred to himself quite a bit during his run in the GOP primaries last year. Spanish surrealist painter (and popular college dorm adornment) Salvador Dali frequently employed real life illeism in a one-on-one conversation with Mike Wallace of 60 Minutes.
Self-referential third person rhetoric was just a tiny foible we found with Dwight’s answers during Amick’s fantastic piece on him. You should really get the context behind his full answers though, so check out the main piece and the supplementary Q&A.
What do you think?
Follow Spencer on Twitter at @countcenci.
Follow Dime on Twitter at @DimeMag.
Become a fan of Dime Magazine on Facebook HERE.