Dwight Howard bore the strain of not winning a championship ring just a year ago, before signing with the Los Angeles Lakers. He’s been in the league since 2004 and has already surpassed his peak form. Howard and the Orlando Magic reached the 2009 NBA Finals, and the 6’10” forward was having one of the best seasons of his career.
Dwight Howard spent eight seasons with the Magic, two less than retired star Jameer Nelson. The 38-year-old, too, was an important member of the 2009 and 2010 Magic. Nelson recently put forth how he enjoyed his times with the young and talented Orlando Magic team.
“It was one of those things it’s like we’re young, and you look at the landscape of our career. We kinda got there in advanced time. We got into to the finals, it didn’t take us 10 years. It was like 5-6 years, we got to the finals,” he detailed.
Dwight Howard tore apart the league with his physical strength, and he could mark anyone on the court. His dominance yielded success as Howard won the NBA Defensive Player of the Year for three successive seasons from 2009-11. Nelson mentioned that Howard was probably in the Top 2 or the Top 3 during his prime years in Orlando.
Orlando Magic selected Dwight Howard as the #1 pick in the 2004 draft. He enjoyed tremendous success with them, but eight years later, why would he demand a trade away from them?
Howard and Stan Van Gundy, who was the Head Coach back then, had a misunderstanding. After several negotiations, the Atlanta native requested to move away from the franchise. As a result, he was traded to the Lakers.
Jameer Nelson looked back to the past and recollected a phrase that was said to him during their run. “Cherish the moments of being on a good team. You don’t know when it’s ever gonna happen again. Looking back on it, that’s kinda what we did. We cherished those moments,” Nelson mentioned.
The 2009 All-Star did seem happy that he truly enjoyed those moments, but he then dug into how the blame was wrongly piled on Howard for the team’s breakup. “Afterward, it just fell apart for a few different reasons. You can’t point the finger at Dwight.”
“He’s gonna get the blame and normally when you’re the best player in a team, you get the blame. Other things had happened that people don’t know about,” he added.
Dwight Howard saw a lot of hurdles come his way after leaving Orlando. He moved on and suffered a troubled first stint with the Lakers. followed by an unsettling time with the Rockets. However, it is better late than never, as Howard has finally won a ring in his 16th year in the league.
Get notified about breaking news and watch highlights on the go; join the Arena on NBA Hoops