Magic’s Dwight Howard living in the moment


Mar 8

Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard said he’s trying to live in the moment amidst continuous speculation on where he may—or may not—end up between now and next week’s NBA trade deadline.

Speaking to the media following the Magic’s shootaround at the United Center on Thursday, Howard opened his comments with his best Charles Barkley impersonation.

“Listen, if you want to stop the Bulls, the first thing you got to do is get back and contain Derrick Rose,” said Barkley—er, Howard. “Derrick Rose is the fastest player I’ve ever seen with the ball in his hands. We just watched film on Derrick Rose, he took two dribbles and got from the free throw line to the rim. In two dribbles!”

As for Rose’s game-winning shot at the final buzzer Wednesday night to help the Bulls complete a season sweep of the Bucks in Milwaukee, Howard saw that too and took note.

“I saw the game-winning shot. Derrick Rose is the truth. Fast does not lie,” exuded Howard, who, like Rose, is an adidas spokesman.

Though it wasn’t more than a minute or two of lightheartedness, Howard admitted it was nice talking about something other than which team he’ll be employed by come 2 p.m. CT on March 15.

“Yeah, this is better than talking about that every day,” Howard said.

But, that didn’t mean he was off the hook in terms of addressing the subject.

When asked for his latest thoughts, Howard replied: “I want to win, and I want to put my team in the best position to win. I’ve given Orlando eight hard years, you know. Everything I’ve got, I left on the floor. They all understand that. So that’s where I keep it and not focus on what’s going to happen tomorrow or the next day. Just focus on like we said earlier, the moment.”

As for what’s being reported or discussed in the media, Howard said he “stopped paying attention to it two, three weeks ago.” He’s attempted to shift his focus to the game itself, but it hasn’t been easy.

Howard has had some help though, saying he and fellow captain Jameer Nelson have made an effort to put teammates at ease, have fun and focus on the task at hand.

“It’s tough, we all think about it,” said Howard. “It’s more on me than anybody else on the team. But as a team, we all think about it.

“My teammates are always, ‘Man, I don’t know how you do it,’” added Howard. “Basketball is fun. So let’s try to stay together and have fun.”

Whether he is ultimately dealt or not, it will certainly be a relief for Howard to have the constant speculation come to an end. On Thursday, he admitted it’s taken a toll.

“This has been the first year we’ve really had to deal with it as a team,” said Howard. “Like I said, the best thing we can do is try to have fun. It’s very tough, but we have to remember we’re third in the East right now and have the fifth-best record in the NBA. It’s not like we’re one of the worst teams to ever put on a Magic uniform.”

Howard is right. Entering Thursday’s game with an overall record of 25-15 is something most teams would be envious of. But whether that’s good enough for Howard at the end of the day is an important question as he and the Magic weigh their options.

Many have wondered if Howard will remain content in Orlando being “the guy,” or if he would consider playing elsewhere on another star’s team.

“I don’t think there’s a player in the NBA who wants to be a nobody,” said Howard. “Everybody wants to be that guy to take that lost shot and be the guy that everybody is leaning on for whatever reason. And I don’t think there is any problem with wanting to be that guy. I’ve been that guy for this team since I’ve been here. My whole life, I’ve been put in a position of leadership and I take on that role. And I love doing it, despite what people think. It’s very tough being a leader.”

Going back to Rose, the NBA’s reining MVP, Howard was asked if he had an impression of him as the session concluded.

“There’s not much you can do with Derrick,” said Howard with a smile. “He’s pretty quiet. That’s my guy. I love Derrick.”

Audio—Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard does his best Charles Barkley impersonation and talks about facing the Bulls (03.08.2012):

Audio—Orlando Magic head coach Stan Van Gundy talks about the challenges that come with taking on the Bulls (03.08.2012):

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