Dwight Howard says reputation has been result of narrative avalanche
Newly-acquired Washington Wizards center Dwight Howard’s reputation as a teammate has been part of his narrative as a player — strong, chiseled, athletic to the gills, but a bad teammate.
Now a member of the Wizards after signing a two-year deal to play alongside dime maestro John Wall, the big man opened up about why his reputation has haunted him throughout the years.
“I know it’s a narrative. I know it’s a story. And I know it was someone else’s opinion that started it. And then it’s just something that kept going,” Howard said, according to Michael Lee of Yahoo Sports. “It’s like when I was in Orlando that wasn’t the narrative. Because we were winning. The narrative in Orlando was I smiled too much. That was the whole thing. He smiles too much. He doesn’t take the game serious. Then it became, I wasn’t smiling, now he doesn’t enjoy the game. ‘Look he doesn’t even smile anymore. He needs to stop playing.’ It’s always something to where if I’m doing what everyone else wants me to do, I’ll never be happy.”
Howard has always faced the demons of being different — whether it was an Adonis-type body in a 6-foot-11 frame or his light-hearted approach to a game where ruthlessness and maniacal competitiveness is often glorified.
This narrative has chased him relentlessly, going from the Magic to consequent teams, resulting in one-year stints with the Los Angeles Lakers, Atlanta Hawks, and the Charlotte Hornets as part of three of the last six years of his career.
Howard had perhaps his best season in recent memory, posting 16.6 points, 12.5 rebounds, and 1.6 blocks after playing in 81 games during the 2017-18 season.