Dwight Howard is simultaneously one of the NBA’s most decorated players and interesting personalities. As the 35-year-old begins to wind down on his impressive 18-season career, Howard was asked to provide insight into some of the items he can’t travel without. One particular item, one whose roots trace back thousands of years, is something Howard used in order to help the Los Angeles Lakers win a title in 2020.
Dwight Howard has a unique personality
Sure, Howard’s basketball career has resulted in eight All-Star appearances, three Defensive Player of the Year Awards, and an NBA championship. However, he may be more known for his laidback temperament and goofy personality than anything he did on the court.
There are multiple stories of Dwight showcasing his one-of-a-kind nature. Upon leaving the Orlando Magic, teammates lauded his ability to flatulate. He would sometimes do interviews while playing video games. During his time with the Houston Rockets, he would spend his time riding three-wheeled bicycles and collecting pet snakes.
While those qualities paint Howard as an eccentric, he is also someone who values peace and tranquility. When he hit free agency in 2013, the 6-foot-10 center planned to meditate on his decision. In 2019, he spoke to The Athletic about the importance of meditation and self-reflection.
“I spent a lot of time meditating,” Howard said. “Spent a lot of time reading and just trying to figure out things about myself that a lot of times are hard for us to really get alone and get by ourselves because we got so much going on in our lives and stuff like that.”
Howard believes in the power of sage
The longtime veteran was profiled by GQ regarding the 10 things he can’t live without. Howard had a couple of standard items like speakers and gum you’d see plenty of NBA players travel with. But Dwight had more unorthodox items in his travel bag, including candles, healing crystals, and most notably, sage.
“Anytime I’m on the road, even when I’m at home, or we’re going into a new building, I always take my sage and I would sage myself,” Howard explained. The center didn’t share the details of when he started to use sage on a regular basis, but did reveal how the herb was beneficial in the bubble.
“During the playoffs in the bubble, I actually saged the whole floor before every game. So I would wake up while my teammates were asleep and go down the whole hallway and sage every one of my teammates’ room doors. So when they come out of the room, they’d smell the sage and they already knew Dwight had been here already.”Dwight Howard
The use of sage dates back to the days of ancient Egypt and Greece. According to Verywell Mind, dried sage is burned as a way to heal, protect, increase wisdom, and boost defense against disease.
“When I got back here with the Lakers, they allowed me to sage the whole practice facility. So I actually went around and saged every place. Saged all the security guard offices. Every person who works in the Lakers organization on the business side, the team side, on the court. Took me about three hours. It was a lot of fun, but a lot of work. I was exhausted after that. The fire alarm kinda went off.”
The Los Angeles Lakers need lots of healing
Dwight returned to LA for the third time this summer with lots of positive energy. He’ll need to bring even more, however, since the Purple and Gold need all the positivity they can get following a pedestrian start to the season.
The Lakers began the 2021-22 season just 8-8. They have been hampered by injuries ever since training camp, with LeBron James already missing 10 out of a possible 16 games. New addition Russell Westbrook has looked disjointed on the court, while several of the role players are falling short of expectations.
Howard falls into that final category, to a degree. The 35-year-old is averaging just 4.5 points and 4.9 rebounds in 13.9 minutes per game. However, his playing time has gone down as previously injured players have begun to return.
Dwight might need to get his hands on more sage if he is going to help these Lakers get back on track.
All statistics courtesy of Basketball Reference.