When the NBA released its official 75th anniversary team in October, Dwight Howard didn't make the cut. And the snub hasn't been received well by the eight-time All-Star and three-time Defensive Player of the Year.
In a new interview with The Athletic, where he was voted the 56th best player on their countdown of the top 75 players in NBA history, Howard revealed he wasn't expecting to be named among the top 75 by the NBA. He said his omission had little or no connection to his basketball stats or accomplishments.
The list was created to highlight and celebrate the best 75 players in NBA history. It was selected by players, coaches, media and basketball executives via votes, but Dwight Howard is of the opinion there was a larger force at play.
“I feel as though since I left Orlando and since I left L.A. the first time and how the media depicted me in the situation, both have kinda left a bad taste in people’s mouths about who I am. In their mind, they have this stigma of who they think Dwight Howard is, and it’s unfair because I’ve never even had a chance to express any of this stuff."
He went on to talk about how the stigma created by the media was responsible for his name being excluded from the NBA's anniversary team.
“I just kinda kept quiet. I kinda tried to allow my work to speak for itself, and now it’s cost me things like not being on (the NBA’s) top 75 list, which I feel is very unfair. But I kinda knew that it was gonna be something that was gonna happen.”
Howard described his exclusion as disrespectful, saying he couldn't go back in time to fix things but finding out he didn't make the list made him sad. He addressed statements suggesting he had been dominant for only a couple of years.
“You hear people say, ‘He was only dominant for a couple of years.’ I didn’t know eight years of being an All-Star, being dominant for eight years, was a couple of years. I didn’t know winning three Defensive Player of the Year awards in a row, and it should’ve been four, is something that is considered not good. There’s guys who don’t have those many accolades. I’m the (youngest) player that’s (reached) 1,000, 2,000, 3,000 all the way up to 9,000 rebounds. That doesn’t add up. So, where is the miscommunication? Where is the lie with my stats?”
How's Dwight Howard faring in the 2021-22 NBA season?
Howard is currently in his 18th season, a longetivity few players achieve, especially with such a level of relevance in the league. While he is no longer in his prime, Howard is very much an important piece of the LA Lakers roster.
He is one of the most decorated active players in the NBA. The veteran is an NBA champion (in his first stint with the Lakers in 2019-20), two-time block leader and five-time rebound champion.
The center has made 18 appearances in the Lakers' 20 games this season. While he has yet to start, Howard comes off the bench and produces, averaging 5.1 points and 4.9 rebounds in 13.4 minutes per game.
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His shooting accuracy is currently at a career-high of 67.4%, netting 1.7 of 2.6 from the field and a 3-point percentage of .714 (5-for-7). Howard is also making 61.5% of his free throws. "Superman" has career averages of 16.0 points, 12.0 rebounds and 1.4 assists per game.