Dwight Howard is at the point of his NBA career where people look back and assess his legacy. Off the court, yes, he has been hardly perfect, as his career has been defined by a series of bridges that have been burned whenever he has gone from one team to another.
That’s something that gets held against Howard a lot, but it won’t be the sort of thing that will matter too terribly much when his career comes to an end and his name gets put on a Hall of Fame ballot down the road. Howard understands this, and when asked by TMZ about his chances of getting enshrined in Springfield some day, despite what people think about him, Howard basically said that numbers never lie.
“I don’t really concern myself with what a lot of people say about me,” Howard said. “My resume speaks for itself.
“I know what I’ve done in this NBA, in my career,” Howard continued. “Think I’ve been pretty successful. A lot of times people always want to hate, say something bad about who you are as a player and a person. That’s just really a testament to their character.”
Howard is an easy target, but when it comes to what he’s done as a player, he’s 100 percent correct. He is going to be a Hall of Fame inductee some day because, at his best, Howard was among the most dominant players in the NBA. While his offensive game never became all that refined, he was still a capable enough scorer that he wasn’t a net negative on that end of the floor; plus, if you threw a lob towards the rim, he was going to get it and throw it through the cylinder.
But where Howard locked down a spot in the Hall of Fame was as a defender and a rebounder. He can still gobble up rebounds now, but he was a five-time NBA rebounding champion at his peak. And while he’s not a singular force on the defensive end now that the league has become so switch-heavy, Howard was the most feared defender on Earth for a stretch, as no one was better at patrolling the paint than Howard was in his prime.
Howard has a myriad of tangible accomplishments — eight All-Star appearances, eight All-NBA selections with five of those coming on the first team, three Defensive Player of the Year awards — and in 2009, he was the rock upon which the Orlando Magic surprisingly built a team that mowed through the Eastern Conference to make the NBA Finals. For all of the criticism he has received in recent years, these are all things that cannot be taken away from him, and when his career ends, they’re the type of things that will lead to him getting inducted into the Hall of Fame.