Dwight Howard still inspired by watching L.A. win title in 2009 as member of Magic
The Los Angeles Lakers are halfway to the NBA Finals after racing to a 2-0 lead in the Western Conference Finals against the Denver Nuggets, and for backup center Dwight Howard, a trip to the Finals would be a long time coming.
It’s been 11 years since his last trip to the championship round, which ironically happened against the Lakers back when he played for the Orlando Magic.
And despite now playing for the team that defeated his former team to win the title, Howard has not forgotten the experience, which he mentioned in an interview with Sports Illustrated’s Chris Mannix, and he is using it as inspiration to fuel his current playoff run.
“It never leaves my mind. I had a chance to get there once. I always promised myself, if I had a chance to get back there, I would give my teammates everything that I’ve got.”
Back in 2009, a 23-year old Howard helped the Magic reach the Finals, eliminating the defending champions Boston Celtics and LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers along the way before meeting Kobe Bryant and the Lakers. In his first Finals, Howard averaged 15.4 points, 15.2 rebounds, 2.2 assists, and four blocks per game, but Orlando could not match the Lakers’ firepower and lost the series in five games.
At the time, it was expected that Howard and the Magic were only getting started and would have another chance to win a title, but it turned out to be the only time he reached the Finals with Orlando. Two seasons later and he joined the Lakers in free agency, before for four other teams before finally rejoining the Lakers. Now, despite having a limited role, he’s using the experience of failure in the past to motivate him and help his current team win a championship.