Los Angeles Lakers big man Dwight Howard will be participating in the Slam Dunk Contest on Saturday night, marking the first time he will have taken part in the event since losing to Nate Robinson in 2009.
A lot has changed for Howard since then, as he went from being one of the top players in the NBA both in terms of ability and marketability to a journeyman and a villain.
However, Howard has begun to turn things around in his second stint with the Lakers this season, as he has accepted a reserve role and is thriving in it, and he also hopes to win back some fans with a strong performance on Saturday evening:
“I feel amazing,” Howard told NBA TV earlier on Saturday. “I can’t wait to fly tonight.”
Does that mean we will see the Superman cape once again from the Lakers big?
“I can’t wait until tonight. I’m looking forward to tonight, man,” added Howard. “Just to have a smile on my face and be out there in front of all the fans and just enjoy this atmosphere. This is something that you can never get back.”
Howard added that the tragic death of his former teammate, Kobe Bryant, has made him even further grasp the concept of enjoying every moment.
In 53 games this season, the 34-year-old is averaging 7.8 points, 7.8 rebounds and 1.3 blocks over 19.8 minutes per game while shooting 73.8 percent from the floor and 46.8 percent from the free-throw line.
Howard made eight straight All-Star appearances between 2007 and 2014 with the Orlando Magic, Lakers and Houston Rockets. He has not played in an All-Star game since and probably never will again, but on Saturday evening, he is hoping to recapture some of his former glory.