Dwight David Howard is an American basketball player for the Los Angeles Lakers of the National Basketball Association (NBA). Howard usually plays center but can also play power forward. He elected to attend Southwest Atlanta Christian Academy for high school, and in his four years he played mostly as power forward. As a senior, Howard led his team to the 2004 state title. That same year, Howard was widely recognized as the best American high school basketball player, and he was awarded the Naismith Prep Player of the Year Award, the Morgan Wootten High School Player of the Year Award, Gatorade National Player of the Year and the McDonald's National High School Player of the Year honor. On January 31, 2012, Howard was also honored as one of the 35 greatest McDonald's All-Americans. He chose to forgo college and entered the 2004 NBA Draft, and was selected first overall by the Orlando Magic. A six-time All-Star, six-time All-NBA team selection, five-time All-Defensive member, and three-time Defensive Player of the Year, Howard has been ranked consistently as one of the best in the league. He led the Magic to three division titles and one conference title, and he was the winner of the 2008 NBA Slam Dunk Contest. In the 2008 Olympics, he was the starting center for Team USA, which went on to win the gold medal. He was traded to the Lakers in 2012.
In June 2005, the Houston Chronicle infamously posted a giant gravestone on the front page of its sport section. The Houston Astros, expected title contenders, had gotten off to a slow start, and the Chronicle declared, “The cold, hard truth: It’s off.”