Dwight Howard was recently interviewed by NBA.com and had some words about the Orlando Magic after they are up 3-1 and the Rockets are 1-3.
“It was tough to see how everything that we worked for and everything that we built up, it seemed like people took that for granted,’’ said Howard, whose Houston Rockets (1-3) host the Magic (1-3) tonight at 8 p.m. ET at Houston’s Toyota Center. “It didn’t end well and all of that fell back on my shoulders, which is fine.
“I just know that I did a lot of great things for the city by putting my heart out there every single night and I put my body on the line to help the city and the team grow,’’ Howard said. “But things happen. But I like what they are doing down there now and I really think (General Manager) Rob (Hennigan) is doing a great job.’’
“They’ve got a lot of young guys now who can really play the game and they’re only going to get better. I’m happy for them that they’re coming back,’’ Howard said following the Rockets’ morning shoot-around practice on Wednesday. “Young guys like Vucevic, (Victor) Oladipo, Fournier – they’ve got a lot of guys who can really basketball. It’s nice to see them coming back.’’
“No doubt about it, all of that took a big toll on my body,’’ said Howard, who comes into tonight’s game averaging 12.5 points, 7.5 rebounds and 2.5 blocks a game. “But at that time, I was young and I wanted to put Orlando on the map and I didn’t care if I died out there on the floor. I was going to give 100 percent no matter what. I took pride in playing all 82 and I took pride in playing because I wanted to be out there for my team and the city.
“As you get older, all of that jumping and banging inside, it wears on your body,’’ added Howard, who can potentially be a free agent this summer if he decides to opt out of his contract. “Now, I feel (the pain in his back and knee) more and it’s almost expected (from the minutes that he logged). Coming into the league at 18 and playing the same way I did for 12 years, it really hits your body.’’
“I’ve thought about that game a lot, my last game with the Magic, and how much pain I was in,’’ he recalled. “My body wasn’t even a concern for myself; my only concern was to win that game. That was me putting myself on the line for other people – that was always my mindset when I played in Orlando. I hope people know that about me and will always remember that.’’
Whoa thats a lot to process there. Howard is undoubtedly thankful for what Magic have given him, but he has a long way to go before he is a champion. No mention of the Lakers, of course, but we all know why that is.