NBA veteran Dwight Howard reveals he was traded to the LA Lakers in 2012 against his wishes. The former Magic player was aware of the comparisons he would draw to Shaquille O’Neal.
Dwight Howard is one of the most talented centers to grace the NBA hardwood. The three-time DPOY was a physical specimen with stellar athletic ability. Howard was a walking highlight reel, especially when it came to performing dunks.
The Lakers big man was a roaring success from his very first season in the league. In what many believe, Howard has the potential to be a top superstar in the NBA. However, injuries and some bad decisions would forbid him from reaching the pinnacle of success.
Nonetheless, the 35-year old has been able to sustain himself in the league, playing in his year eighteen. Howard was selected, by the Orlando Magic, as the first overall pick in the 2004 NBA Draft. The veteran center would draw comparisons to Shaquille O’Neal in the initial years of his career.
Also read: “Dirk Nowitzki was so frustrated at losing to the We Believe Warriors, he punched a hole in Oracle Arena”: Mavericks legend recalls his most frustrating NBA season ahead of jersey retirement vs Warriors
Big Diesel never responded positively towards these comparisons. Recently, Howard revealed that he was reluctant to be traded to the Lakers in 2012, as it would lead to people believing he was trying to mimic O’Neal.
Dwight Howard was reluctant to join the LA Lakers in 2012.
Howard put everyone on notice with his freakish athletic ability when he entered the league. The veteran led the league five-times in rebounds and two-times in blocks during his career. One of the biggest highlights of his career was winning the Slam dunk contest in 2008.
Howard had performed an entire skit that involved him wearing the Superman cape before performing the winning dunk of the night. Post winning the dunk contest, Howard would earn the nickname Superman. This nickname made O’Neal resent Howard even further.
Shaq believed the Superman nickname belonged to him and was in no mood to share it with Howard. Thus causing further tensions between the two big men. Recently, Howard spoke about how he was reluctant to join the Lakers in 2012 without taking any names.
“My intention when I first left Orlando was not to go to LA, and the Magic knew that, but despite my wishes to go somewhere else, they sent me to LA, which was one of the places at that time that I did not want to go,” said Howard. “I felt like it would have made people feel as though I was trying to follow in somebody else’s footsteps.”
Via: The Athletic
Howard’s stint with the Lakers would not last very long. The eight-time All-Star would sign with the Houston Rockets after playing a mere one season with the Lakers. Howard did not share a great relationship with the face of the franchise Kobe Bryant and had several injuries during the season.
Though Howard and O’Neal continue to share a hostile relationship, the former would play with the Lakers on two separate occasions thereafter, winning his first championship with the team as well in 2020.