By Vinny Hardy
We all have to learn the hard way. It happens frequently as youngsters and young adults (some more frequently than others) and hopefully diminishes as experience and adulthood and “adulting” commence for good. For new Washington Wizards big man Dwight Howard, these moments and lessons are way more public than any of ours. At age 32, however, they are still pretty frequent too.
He inspired awe for years as a pure physical specimen and also for his raw potential and insane athletic ability.
Recently though, the SMH moments happen off of the court more for the things he says as evidenced in his journey to becoming a Wizard.
His latest moment was chronicled by Candice Buckner of the Washington Post. Howard revealed that playing eight more years to age 40 was a goal of his. Fine. Not many big men achieve that. As big and strong and committed to fitness as he is, this seems doable for him. It was the rest of his statement that dropped jaws and made eyes roll.
He plans to “evolve into Anthony Davis, into Kevin Durant” “but his own version of that”.
This is where the learning the hard way comes into play again. There’s no denying that D12 is an athletic freak and an unbelievable physical specimen. There just hasn’t been much in terms of evolution when it comes to his game and it’s not like there haven’t been ample opportunities.
Patrick Ewing is in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame and is one of the NBA’s 50 Greatest players of all time. Michael Jordan and Hakeem Olajuwon are the reasons he doesn’t have at least one NBA championship on his resume’. He was also money from 15-18 feet. Imagine if Howard had added Patrick’s jumper to his game.
After leaving Orlando, Howard’s next stop was with the Los Angeles Lakers. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, the leading scorer in NBA history just happened to spend the bulk of his career there. Yet, there wasn’t a lot of sharing of knowledge between the two big fellas. Granted, Howard was coming off of back surgery but Kareem was never convinced that he wanted to put in any work.
Next stop, Houston.
The Dream had many sessions with Dwight (and Kobe, LeBron, Yao Ming, Amare’ Stoudemire). A lot of knowledge went by the wayside as Howard never incorporated it into his game. This should have been big man utopia for Howard. Kevin McHale was the head coach at the time. Say what you will about him as a head coach, but he had the meanest up and under ever and championship experience that Dwight could have benefited from.
And now he’s looking to emulate Anthony Davis and Kevin Durant.
Dwight had chance after chance to evolve through the years and didn’t take advantage. Now he wants to go from where he is currently to where A.D. and K.D. are.
Putting it mildly, that is some kind of leap.