Three Los Angeles Lakers players were voted to the NBA’s 75th Anniversary Team: LeBron James, Anthony Davis, and Russell Westbrook. However, Dwight Howard wasn’t, and his omission didn’t sit well with LeBron.
LeBron and Howard were rivals before the latter joined the former on the Lakers in 2019. However, the future Hall of Famers have always respected each other, which is why LeBron was puzzled to see Howard not make the NBA’s 75th Anniversary Team.
LeBron James reacts to his friend’s tweet about Dwight Howard
One of LeBron’s friends tweeted that Howard “not being on that Top 75 List is still some lemon pepper bullsh*t.” When the King saw the tweet, he responded with eight fax machine emojis as his way of saying “facts.”
Howard is an eight-time All-Star, three-time Defensive Player of the Year, five-time rebounding champion, two-time blocks champion, and one-time NBA champion. He has made eight All-NBA teams and five All-Defensive teams.
Not to throw him under the bus, but Portland Trail Blazers point guard Damian Lillard made the 75th Anniversary Team despite only being a six-time All-Star and six-time All-NBA performer. The only award Dame has won is the 2012-13 Rookie of the Year Award, and he’s never even been to the Finals. If Lillard made the team, Howard should have as well.
After battling each other for years during their younger days, LeBron and Howard won the 2020 championship together at the Walt Disney World bubble. The Lakers defeated the Miami Heat, giving LeBron his fourth title and fourth Finals MVP and Howard his first championship.
Everyone knew LeBron would make the 75th Anniversary Team. Most NBA fans thought Howard would be voted in as well. However, the former Orlando Magic superstar had a feeling he wasn’t going to be selected.
Dwight Howard on not making NBA’s 75th Anniversary Team: “I felt before that I wasn’t gonna be on it”
Along with his aforementioned accolades, Howard has career averages of 15.9 points, 11.9 rebounds, and 1.8 blocks with the Magic, Lakers, Houston Rockets, Atlanta Hawks, Charlotte Hornets, Washington Wizards, and Philadelphia 76ers. From 2004-05 to 2017-18, the Georgia native averaged a double-double.
“It was upsetting, at first. But, I didn’t take it too seriously,” Howard said. “I felt before that I wasn’t gonna be on it because it felt like [the NBA] was trying to phase me out. People think I’m trying to blame the NBA for certain things, but I look at how certain things have happened in my career and I know some of these things are not on me. I’ve watched how I rarely get talked about when they mention [the Lakers]. It’s like I’m an afterthought. Like damn.”
Howard’s image took a massive hit after he requested a trade from the Magic and didn’t mesh well with the late great Kobe Bryant in 2012-13. When he starred in Orlando and had legendary battles with LeBron, Superman was adored by NBA fans, but everything changed after he left the City of Light.
Howard’s reputation was so bad that he had to convince LeBron and the Lakers to sign him in 2019 after the purple and gold lost DeMarcus Cousins to an ACL tear and needed a big man. The No. 1 overall pick in the 2004 draft met with the Lakers after Cousins’ injury and reportedly won over LeBron and Davis.
LeBron James, Anthony Davis were impressed by big man’s mindset
According to Shams Charania of The Athletic, Howard had an emotional meeting with the Lakers in 2019, explaining how he had reached rock bottom and needed to find a new mindset to rejuvenate his career. The veteran won over the players in the locker room, including LeBron and Davis, and the Lakers signed him to a one-year, $2.6 million deal.
Howard averaged 7.5 points and 7.3 rebounds for the Lakers in 2019-20. His rebounding and defense helped LeBron and Davis capture the Larry O’Brien trophy at Walt Disney World, and the Daily Double cried in the postgame locker room since he was so elated he finally won an NBA championship.
LeBron and his friend are correct: Howard should have been on the 75th Anniversary Team. While the voters made a mistake not voting for Howard, he will undoubtedly make the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame one day with LeBron.