Dwight Howard And A Laker Fan Have A Cordial Conversation
November 6, 2014 - 8:56 pm
The campaign videos between the NBA and American Express are centered around learning more about players off the court. They usually work with players with big personalities and it’s hard to find a bigger personality than yours in the league. Do you think that’s what makes this a natural fit?
Oh yeah, I think the fact that I have a big personality fits with American Express. Fans always get to see my on court experiences, but now they’ll get to see my personal experiences too. That ties in with Amex and the home court advantage. I’m happy for the opportunity and so far it has been a lot of fun.
What can we expect from you and Amex down the line that will make the partnership unique to you. That’s what the series is about, right? For instance, they talked about travel with Bulls star Joakim Noah, cooking and cuisine with other players. How will you make this your own?
Well, you know I have a super big personality. The videos fans will see are of me making people laugh and having a good time. I love to do that, and I love life in general. They see me having fun on court but I’m always excited and happy because I’m alive. That will show in the videos.
[videoembed size="full_width" alignment="center"][/videoembed]
So I write about sports for VIBE Mag and there’s no way I could talk to you and not talk NBA. I want to walk through your career arc a little bit and get your thoughts. Let’s start in 2011 while you’re still in Orlando, a year many thought you should have won MVP. Not to take anything away from Derrick Rose, but honestly was there some disappointment that you didn’t win?
I was hurt by it. That year was great for me and not to take anything away from Derrick (Rose), he had an amazing year, but everything came together that year for myself and the team. That season was mine. I did everything I could not only for the team, but for the city. I wanted people to know who we were.
2012 comes around and you head to the Lakers. Was playing for them as much of a no brainer as it seemed?
Well I think people have that story twisted. It was a free agency situation, I was traded to the Lakers. I didn’t sign with them. I enjoyed my time there and I learned a lot of things about myself that I didn’t know. I grew a tougher skin. Even though I had some serious injuries throughout the year, I played as hard as I could and enjoyed my time there.
You and Kobe had a little rift opening night, but it looked like just basketball, heat of the moment type stuff. Keep it 100, is there any truth to you leaving L.A. because of Kobe?
Not at all. I don’t base any life decisions off of anyone else. He’s a great ball player and I made a decision to go to another team that had a great opportunity to win. I wanted to play with James Harden, be coached by Kevin McHale and those are the reasons. It had nothing to do with Kobe. People have gotten that confused over the years. The main thing I want people to know is that I have an American Express card and the cards have changed my life. They’ve allowed me and my family to travel and do things over the years that have truly been amazing and I’m a proud American Express carrier.
In your defense, I thought Mike D’Antoni messed that situation up and basically under utilized you. If Phil Jackson was hired, do you think you’d still be a Laker?
Well I mean that part of my life is done with. It was a great time and I developed a lot of things that I didn’t have before. But my decision to leave was based off of where I wanted to go. Not the coach. I don’t know that I would have stayed even if Phil was still there.
I don’t know how to feel about the Rockets. You guys have the two best players at their respective positions, yourself and James Harden, but I still feel like there’s a piece missing. Losing Chandler Parsons was big, not getting Chris Bosh was probably bigger. What will it take for you guys to reach that next level and win a championship?
The hardest thing to do in the NBA is win a championship. People throw rings around and say you have to win one to be important. As players, we have to get over that and know that no matter how many rings you have or don’t have, you’re not less of a person in society. That’s always bigger than basketball. LeBron (James) defines it the best. Even though he has two rings, he understands that what he brings to the city, the team and the organization is bigger than any ring.
It’s no doubt in my mind that I want to win and be a champion, but I won’t let it define who I am as a person. I think we have a great chance and a great team. We’ve got guys who have won championships and understand what it takes. But it’s going to take effort from all of us and we’ll have to rely on each other.