Jackie MacMullan has an interesting Q&A with our favorite clown – Dwight Howard. Dwight didn’t reveal much about the disharmony with James Harden but claims Rockets GM Daryl Morey told him directly that the team wanted to reduce his role. Howard admitted to slacking off, but worked to change that by seeking advice from Celtics legend Robert Parish and former Cs coach Clifford Ray:
“For the final few weeks of the season, I brought [former NBA big man] Clifford Ray in. He told me, ‘Dwight, you never know what is going to happen, so you need to keep working, keep growing, be ready.’ Cliff wanted me to get in better shape. He said, ‘If you aren’t getting touches, then get every offensive rebound and keep running the floor.’ He was a positive light for me — a great inspiration. Clifford got me on the phone with [former Celtics center] Robert Parish. Robert told me, ‘Don’t allow what other people do affect your performance. You have to be stronger mentally to overcome those situations.’ Those two guys made me realize I need to get locked in with the mental part of the game.”
Nice try, Robert but Dwight might be the least mentally tough player in the league.
Howard also shares a funny story from his time with the Lakers:
“I just felt like it wasn’t a team. I wanted a team. There were things that went on during the season that made me feel like I wasn’t a part of it, like the thing with Kobe and my shoulder. People were saying, ‘Dwight’s so strong, he’s Superman, he should play through it.’ It was a torn labrum. I should have had surgery, but I didn’t. I came back instead. I’ll never forget the game we played against the Celtics in Boston (on Feb. 7, 2013). I hadn’t practiced for a while — I had just been working on the treadmill. But I played in Boston. We got blown out. Coach (Mike D’Antoni) still had me in when we were down 30. After the game, I’m walking off the court and a Lakers fan throws his jersey and hits me in the face. It was my name on that jersey. I will never forget that the rest of my life.”
Find that Lakers fan and buy him a beer! He’s probably morphed into a Heat and Warriors fan over the years, but still deserving of a beer.