If he ended up hanging a ring on his list, Dwight Howard will not have had a linear and restful career. In the grip of several galleys and adventures, Superman sometimes had trouble managing the difficulties that presented themselves to him. The proof with the strange habit he had taken at half-time of the matches he played…
Newbie fans know Dwight Howard as a veteran with meager stats, but make no mistake: from the top 8 All-Star selections, 8 All-NBA selections, 3 DPOY titles and so many other accolades , the Atlanta native has a breathtaking resume. Enough, moreover, for his absence from the top 75 all-time revealed by the league recently to be considered an injustice. And enough, surely, to join the Hall of Fame one day.
However, the monster glimpsed in Orlando at the start of his career (too) quickly gave way to a pivot in search of identity and benchmarks in a changing league. For Howard, the galleys began during his trade to the Lakers for the 2012-2013 season. Caught up by Kobe Bryantwho considered him too soft, the big man almost never stopped chaining the galleys thereafter, until he was without a contract today.
At each half, the improbable ritual of Dwight Howard
Targeted by the Black Mamba, by journalists and by several adversaries, Superman gradually lost his cape and let doubt invade him. This is what he confided in a strong interview with Sports Illustrated in 2017:
I lost faith in who I was as a player. I was hearing people say I should play more like Shaq, so I try to dominate. But it didn’t work, because I’m not as big as Shaq. Then I heard that I smiled too much, that I had to do more like Kobe. So I was trying to look ugly and play pissed off, but I was taking a lot of flagrant and technical fouls.
The journalist who wrote the paper continues:
Howard even took to wearing a headband and knee pads, Wilt Chamberlain-style, as if to try to dress up as all the Lakers legends. He became so anxious that he would often call his friends at halftime to find out what they thought of his performance.
You read that right: During the half-time sanctuary, when the coaches give their instructions and the players talk to each other about what needs to be done, Howard would isolate himself in order to ask his friends if he had done well enough. play. An explosive attitude at a time when the prevalence of telephones was not as important as today. Many players now check their messages at halftime during matches.
In any case, this anecdote illustrates how Howard, so dominant during his first years in Orlando, lost his footing to the point of not knowing what to do. If the pivot has never regained his former form, far from it, he was at least able to win a deserved title with the Lakers in 2020. A significant consolation.
Dwight Howard is a very sensitive person, and his second half of his career was negatively impacted by his attempts to please everyone, sometimes to the detriment of himself. It’s hard not to feel a sense of waste when talking about Superman’s career…