Dwight Howard had to embrace a periphery role with Los Angeles Lakers last season, but he finally captured his first career title. The legacy-reshaping moment allowed the veteran center to reflect on his career to date.
“Winning the championship was everything,” the newly inbound Philadelphia 76ers big man told reporters Wednesday, according to Philadelphia Inquirer's Keith Pompey. “It made me realize that I have the best stats in the world, and it don’t mean nothing.”
Howard, who turns 35 on Dec. 8, had already cemented a strong case for his eventual Hall of Fame induction thanks to a strong first decade in the league.
Howard's stretch from 2006-14 - spent primarily as the face of the Orlando Magic - ranks among the best in modern hoops history. The span produced eight straight All-Star selections, three Defensive Player of the Year Awards, five rebounding titles, and a surprising run to the Finals in 2009.
Overall, the former first overall pick has averaged 16.7 points, 12.3 rebounds, and 1.9 blocks per game playing for six different teams across 17 seasons.
But it was only during his second Lakers stint in 2019-20 - while logging a career-low 18.9 minutes per game - that the occasionally erratic and unfocused big man finally hoisted the Larry O'Brien Trophy.
Now that he's caught the championship bug, Howard is ready to once again embrace a supporting role with the 76ers as Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons, and Co. chase the franchise's first title since the golden era of Julius Erving and Moses Malone.
“I believe that this is our year,” Howard said. “It’s been a long time since 1983. So I think it’s time that we hoist up another banner here in Philly.”