“For whatever reason that Dwight Howard got left out, there’s something more than basketball to it”: The Lakers big man’s exclusion from NBA’s top-75 players of all time has Stan Van Gundy wondering

Akash Murty
|Published January 16, 2022

Dwight Howard’s former coach Stan Van Gundy believes, there’s something more than basketball behind Dwight Howard’s exclusion from NBA’s top-75 list.

Dwight Howard is unquestionably one of the best centers in the NBA. He’ll be a First Ballot Hall of Famer when it’s all set and done but what did he do wrong to not be named as NBA’s top-75 players of all time.

You can go through basketball history books there won’t be any players from previous eras who could have been snubbed for the Lakers big man. The likes of Bill Walton, Nate Thurmond, and Dikembe Mutombo getting the call over Howard might raise questions in many people’s heads, who haven’t watched those giants play.

But there are few current superstars whose presence in the list over Dwight might surprise us when all of them have called it a day.

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But Damian Lillard and Howard’s current teammates Anthony Davis and Russell Westbrook’s selection over him is a big dent on Howard’s impression in the game.

Although Russell Westbrook has won an MVP award, some scoring titles, and 9-All Star appearances, he was never in conversation to be the best player in the league. Neither was Anthony Davis nor Damian Lillard.

“There’s something more than basketball for Dwight Howard’s exclusion from top 75”: Stan Van Gundy

Dwight Howard in his peak was neck to neck with LeBron James, at least for a couple of years, as the best players in the league. Kobe Bryant would surely believe otherwise, but the world wouldn’t. And Dwight’s coach at the time, i.e., his Orlando Magic days, Stan Van Gundy believes the same as well.

“Whatever the reason that he got left out, there’s something more than basketball to it,” said Van Gundy, who coached Howard at his best believes he should have been in the top-75 list.

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His 8 All-Star, 8 All-NBA, 5 All-Defensive team selections, should be enough to speak about the dominance. Add 3-time Defensive Player of the Year, 5-time rebounding leader, and a 2-time blocks’ leader to that, and you will have a top-50 player of all time ideally.

But people even forget his claim for the Hall of Fame selection, since he has become a role player. More recently, in his third stint with the LA Lakers.

“I have people ask me like, ‘Oh, do you think he’s a Hall of Famer?’” Van Gundy added. “Do I think he’s a Hall of Famer? Are you kidding me? Go check and see how many people have done [what Howard has done].”

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Howard’s attitude, him being a nice guy always with a smile, which generally is not the personality of an NBA big man, his misunderstandings with Van Gundy which led to both of their departures from Magic eventually, hurt his image.

All of it added up in creating a narrative for the 2020 NBA champion that led to his exclusion from the Top-75 list, which was eventually a Top-76 due to a draw.

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About the author

Akash Murty

Akash Murty

An Electrical and Electronics Engineer by degree, Akash Murty is an NBA Editor at The SportsRush. Previously a Software Engineer, Murty couldn’t keep himself away from sports, and his knack for writing and putting his opinion forward brought him to the TSR. A big Soccer enthusiast, his interest in basketball developed late, as he got access to a hoop for the first time at 17. Following this, he started watching basketball at the 2012 Olympics, which transitioned to NBA, and he became a fan of the game as he watched LeBron James dominate the league. Him being an avid learner of the game and ritually following the league for around a decade, he now writes articles ranging from throwbacks, and live game reports, to gossip. LA Lakers are his favourite basketball team, while Chelsea has his heart in football. He also likes travelling, reading fiction, and sometimes cooking.

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