Credit To Dwight Howard

Can I get a hell yeah for the big fella!

Jim Rome
November 05, 2019 - 12:22 pm
Dwight Howard

USA Today

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Yesterday, the NBA announced Anthony Davis was the Western Conference of the Week. And today, I’d like to announce that Dwight Howard is my Jim Rome Player of the Week. No, actually, of the season. No. Wait. Dwight Howard is my Jim Rome Man of the Year. 

Yeah, I said it. Because that’s how the NBA has been this year. Everything is upside down. The Suns beat the Sixers last night in a game that people had actually been looking forward to. That’s how crazy the association is right now.

In other words, every pre-conceived notion you had coming into the season is out the window. Already. 

But I will take credit here, because when it comes to Dwight, I was rolling out the welcome wagon before he even arrived.

Back when it was a possibility that the Lakers might sign Dwight, I was all about it. I wanted a second act. I wanted redemption. I wanted Smash Mouth covers. I wanted legendary quotes. I wanted it to be Halloween every single day with the big fella stashing and smashing copious amounts of candy. I wanted it all.

Because I knew it would be good. But I’d be lying if I said I knew it would be THIS good. And so would the Lakers if that said that. And Dwight too. No one knew it would be like THIS. Because Dwight has been an absolute force since he arrived. A straight up stud. And LeBron and A.D. are benefitting immensely. Hell, this entire city is benefitting immensely. The Lakers have won five straight, since losing to the Clippers, they’re on top of the Pacific Division, and they’re playing some of the best defense in the NBA.

And a big chunk of the credit to Dwight Howard.

And I’m not just talking about that monster game on Sunday against the Spurs where he went for 14 points, 13 rebounds, and 2 blocks in 21 minutes. That wasn’t a one off.  He’s going stuff like every single night.

Crazy stuff: like throwing lobs to fellow big, A.D.

Dwight Howard wearing a sm-edium Lakers jersey with Larry Csonka’s number, throwing alley-oops to Anthony Davis, while their teammate LeBron James is on the bench. What a time to be alive!!

If I tried to conjure up this vision a few years back and tried to sell that to you, that would probably be a reason to go. Could have added to the list: reasons to go: someone spits in your face: someone insults your race or religion: or your significant other: Rome says Dwight Howard is killing it and a big reason the Lakers are once again legitimate threats to win a title: hell, not only would that go on the list, it would probably go to the top of the list. Or it would have if I said a few years back: but now it’s legit. It’s true. They are legitimate title contenders. And at 33, he is one of the biggest reasons why they are. Hell, remember before the season when everyone was saying, you can’t win a title with a big two: LeBron and A.D. aren’t enough? Yeah, well, they’ve got a big three: put Dwight in there with those other two big dogs. 

This whole thing is mind-blowing. The fact that he’s even back with the Lakers after a disastrous first sting here is unbelievable. And see him dominating and the fans loving him is the impossible dream. And the most impossible thing of all is that this dude is so self-aware. The guy who I would have said can’t even tell time, knows exactly what time it is. And exactly who he is. And who and what he’s not. That’s the biggest shock of all.  So many alphas on the back end of their careers can’t cope with not being who they were; and never figure it out. Carmelo Anthony certainly hasn’t. And that’s why he’s not in the league now. Allen Iverson couldn’t figure it out either...  Both could have prolonged their careers. And helped a team out. But they couldn’t help themselves. They couldn’t self-scout. They couldn’t accept what they had become; couldn’t accept that they were no longer what they were. Couldn’t accept that they could still be effective without dominating. Couldn’t accept a role or coming off the bench, even though they could be really effective doing it. Those two never figured it out. And I would bet anything I had that Dwight Howard would fall into that same exact category. But he hasn’t! The dude seems to know exactly who he is. And unlike, Melo or A.I., has been able to accept a very different role. And now he’s killing it because he has. Again, they’re one of the best stories in the NBA so far, because Dwight is the best story in the league to date. 

He’s even getting love from his former coach, Stan Van Gundy, who said on Sirius yesterday: 

“He helps his teammates. He’ll certainly help them defensively and on the boards, and I think that’s all he is trying to do right now.”

It is and he’s doing it really well. He’s not looking to slow down the offense with post-ups or trying to play with his back to the basket. He doesn’t want the offense run through him. He’ll get his points on dunks. He is a glue guy. An energy guy. A character guy. A team guy.  An unselfish guy. An amazing guy. He’s a basketball genius. And why do I say that? Not just because of what he’s doing on the floor, but because of the things he saying. Like this. Don’t say he’s simply accepted role: this is way more than just a role to Superman, quote:

"I don't see it as a role, I see it as my purpose. I think it's my purpose to go out every single night and play hard defense, trying to block every shot, trying to be in the paint, get a lot of steals, and go for loose balls. Whatever I can do for this team, be of service, that's my mission. I don't see it as my role, I see it as a purpose."

Holy crap: mind blown again. This dude has cracked the code: he’s figured one of the secrets to a living a meaningful life: the one thing we are all looking to do: he knows his WHY.  Why are you here?  What is your purpose? Do you even have one? Dwight does. He’s’ here to dominate on defense, block shots, clean up the boards, do all the dirty work that no ones to do and be the best and most unselfish teammate he can possibly be. Big fella know his WHY! And I couldn’t be any more impressed than I am.

Give this dude some bleeping credit, for real. Aftearll, he is their third best player. And thanks to him A.D. doesn’t have to spend so much time at the five, something he hates. I don’t how long he can keep this up: but if he stays healthy, and remains committed to this reinvention, and this is fact, who this guy is now, it’s proves that dudes really can change; and evolve; and just as importantly, it proves the Lakers are a legitimate threat and maybe this town doesn’t belong to the Clippers. Can I get a hell yeah for Dwight Howard! The king is back! And I don’t mean LeBron.