Lakers big man Dwight Howard has had something of a career renaissance this season. The center who once earned the nickname Superman has spent a lot of time on different teams and earning the disdain of the entire league. His fall from grace has been something that you rarely see anyone go through and, for a while, it seemed like he was close to leaving the NBA entirely. Then, it all came together in Los Angeles.
Howard’s ego has apparently left him, his play has increased, and the Lakers use him in a way that is most beneficial to his skills. It’s been the perfect comeback for him. So why not bring it around full circle and really bring it back?
According to Shams Charania of The Athletic, Howard was offered and accepted a spot in the 2020 NBA Slam Dunk Contest, a full 11 years since his last appearance.
Los Angeles Lakers center Dwight Howard will participate in the Dunk Contest in Chicago at All-Star weekend, league sources told The Athletic. The NBA has received the commitment of the three-time participant (2007-09), one-time Slam Dunk champion and a potential Hall of Famer to revitalize the energy in this year’s competition.
Howard made a lot of his name and brand in his first appearance in the dunk contest when he was the first big man to really showcase his athleticism. Of course, everyone in the modern NBA can fly out the building and do miraculous things with a basketball now, but Howard did it first. The reason people call him superman is because he put on a cape and threw the ball into the rim during a dunk contest, and it was amazing, but it wasn’t even the best dunk he had that entire evening.
Howard has always brought a creativity to the dunk contest that is needed to really spice things up. Only so many players can go between their legs before you’ve seen it before. Not every player can touch the top of the backboard with one hand while throwing a dunk down with the other.
There are obvious concerns about Howard entering the contest now, however. He hasn’t performed in one since 2009, and since then he’s had back surgery and reached the age of 34. The athleticism he was known for at his peak isn’t there anymore. It will certainly be interesting to see what he can do on the floor, especially going up against some of the latest wave of talented dunkers in the Association.