Dwight Howard had all the confidence in the world when he was the first pick in the 2004 NBA draft right out of high school. He was an NBA All-Star for eight straight seasons, putting up huge numbers for the Orlando Magic. Then his confidence took a big hit. He wasn’t himself. Howard remembers when the confidence came crashing down and reveals how it got it all back.
Dwight Howard was a superstar with the Orlando Magic
Back in the days when dominant big men were a thing, Dwight Howard was one of the best. The 6-foot-11 Howard was the first player taken in the 2004 NBA draft despite not playing any college basketball. The Orlando Magic selected Howard and he didn’t disappoint.
The Magic wasted no time in getting him involved. Howard started all 82 games in his rookie season. He averaged better than 32 minutes per game and put up 12 points and 10 rebounds per game. In 2005, he improved to 15.8 points and 12.5 rebounds per game while starting 81 of the 82 games he played.
By his third season in the league, Howard was an NBA All-Star. He remained an All-Star for eight consecutive seasons. Howard was both dominant and durable. In each of his first four years in the NBA, he played in all 82 games. During his first seven seasons, he missed a total of seven games. In four of his last five seasons with the Magic, he led the NBA in rebounds. Twice, he led the league in blocks.
Dwight Howard traded to the Los Angeles Lakers
After eight seasons with the Orlando Magic, Dwight Howard was traded to the Los Angeles Lakers in a four-team deal. During the offseason, Howard underwent back surgery in April and took nearly six months off from basketball activities. He slowly worked his way back into shape as the season progressed.
Again, Howard showed his durability as he missed six games despite playing much of the season with a torn labrum. Howard still managed to lead the league in rebounds at 12.4 per game and added 17.1 points per game. The Lakers had a disappointing playoff run, falling to the San Antonio Spurs.
Howard was offered a five-year max deal worth $118 from the Lakers but instead chose to sign with the Houston Rockets. He played three seasons in Houston, his first as an NBA All-Star. Howard then went on to play shorts stints with the Atlanta Hawks, Charlotte Hornets, and Washington Wizards. He returned to the Lakers for a season and just signed with the Philadelphia 76ers.
Howard had to kill his ego
Dwight Howard has moved on to his seventh different team after signing with the Philadelphia 76ers this year. He’s had his up and downs and has seen his confidence level plummet. He said he figured out how to get it back. Howard said his confidence took a dip when he left LA for Houston.
“My confidence was shook after I left LA and got to Houston,” Howard told Graham Bensinger. “Just because of all the things that were going on. I had super-high confidence in Orlando. With a lot of things that happened, I started to lose confidence in myself. In my personality, I lost all type of confidence. I didn’t want to smile no more. In Houston, the confidence was just going down. I was watching YouTube videos of myself and was like, ‘who is he?'”
Howard said it was a phase he went through. He said some of the things that were being said about him hurt him. “I’m a bad teammate. I’m a cancer. All that stuff started to weigh on me.” He figured out how to regain the confidence he once had when he was in Orlando. “My ego, just let it go,” Howard told Bensinger. “It has to die. It’s hard to let stuff go. I was able to let all that stuff go and realize that the only thing that matters is the moment that I’m in right now.”