Dwight Howard’s NBA career very nearly ended before the 2019-20 season. After playing for four different teams in four seasons and suiting up only nine times for the Washington Wizards, the league appeared to have lost interest in the former Defensive Player of the Year. His locker room presence had drawn dubious reviews, and with his athleticism declining through injuries, few teams were sniffing at his door when he was waived following a trade to the Memphis Grizzlies.
But the Los Angeles Lakers granted him a lifeline, and he used it to win his first championship last season. Howard played in all but three Laker games last season and was a valuable presence as a rim-protector, pick-and-roll threat and rebounder. The Lakers may have gone in a different direction this offseason, but Howard caught on with the Philadelphia 76ers and has maintained his productivity. Now that his career is rolling again, Howard told reporters Monday that he isn’t ready for it to end any time soon.
“I would love to play a lot longer, at least five years,” Howard said Monday. “Five years is still a long time. I have been playing my whole life. It’s been a long ride.”
“I feel like I still got a lot left in me, and I still can get better in a lot of areas,” Howard said. “So I’m going to continue to strive to do that and also just lead this team in a lot of different areas.”
Even after his rejuvenation, the odds are against Howard playing another five seasons. He’s 35 years old now, and only nine players of his height have ever played into their 40s, according to Stathead. But given improvements in modern recovery techniques and equipment, stranger things have certainly happened, and Howard is such a unique athlete that he may be able to last longer than most players through sheer genetic gifts alone.
Besides, he still has several stops left on his reunion tour. He repaired his relationship with Lakers fans last season after a miserable first experience during the 2012-13 campaign and has now reunited with Daryl Morey, his former general manager in Houston, with the 76ers. Perhaps one last season in Orlando could be in the cards, or a stop with one of his other former teams. For now, though, Howard is focused on winning his second consecutive championship. If he helps the 76ers back to the top of the mountain, he might be able to drum up another five years worth of interest after all.
Courtesy: CBS Sports