Childhood & Early Life
Dwight was born Dwight David Howard in Atlanta on December 8, 1985. Born to Dwight Howard Sr. and Sheryl Howard, he was regarded a miracle child, for his mother had seven stillborn babies prior to his birth.
Dwight was destined to become a sportsperson as both his parents were former basketball players. His father, who was a state level player, is now serving as the Athletic Director of Southwest Atlanta Christian Academy. His mother too played basketball for her college team. Dwight started his training in basketball when he was nine years old.
In a short span of time, Dwight became familiar with the basics of the sport. He considered Michael Jordon as his hero and followed his style. He also idolizes Kevin Garnett, who has inspired Dwight all the way through.
Despite having a body type that is usually considered unsuitable for the game, Dwight managed to excel, especially at the guard position. He, in no time, caught the attention of the NBA selection committee even before registering his name to play for the Southwest Atlanta Christian Academy High School basketball team. He played for the team for a total of four years starting from 1998. He started off as the point guard, worked his way to small forward and finally became the power forward. With an average of 16.6 points, 13.4 rebounds and 6.3 blocks per game, Dwight emerged as the team’s most prominent player.
His team qualified for the state level championship in 2004 and he played exceptionally well, scoring an average of 25 points, 18 rebounds, 8.1 blocks and 3.5 assists per game. His incredible performance earned him a few awards including ‘Naismith Prep Player of the Year Award’, ‘Morgan Wootten High School Player of the Year Award’, ‘Gatorade National Player of the Year’ and ‘McDonald's National High School Player of the Year’.
Dwight also won the MVP award which he shared with J. R. Smith. Dwight closed out the junior level with a commendable 2,146 points, 1,728 rebounds and 811 blocks. He was honored with the title ‘Mr. Basketball’ by the state and was elected as the school’s co-president. Dwight decided to quit academics and devoted all his time to basketball.
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Dwight’s decision to drop out of college was inspired by Garnett’s decision as he too, had dropped out of his college. Dwight’s name was listed in the 2004 NBA Draft and he joined ‘Orlando Magic’.
The team was not at its best as it had lost a few matches prior to Dwight’s entry. Post Dwight’s entry, everything changed for good as he not only contributed towards the team’s success but also improved his own game. He closed out the rookie season with 112 points. He scored 10 rebounds in the season and that made him the youngest player to do so.
When Dwight returned for the second season, he looked more muscular than before. Looking at his daunting physical appearance, Coach Brian Hill made him the full-fledged center. According to the coach, Dwight’s defense was his weak point. He also thought Dwight had to work on his post-up. After working on his weak zones, there was a dramatic improvement in his game which in turn helped his team to reach the 2006 Rookie Challenge of NBA All-Star Weekend. Dwight scored 26 rebounds against ‘Philadelphia 76ers’ which was the highest in his career. He ended the game with 28 points, which was very close to the NBA ideal game score of 30-30.
Despite his phenomenal performance, his team failed to reach the finals. But Howard was far from giving up. He bounced back for the 2007-2008 season which is considered as the team’s best played season to date. By the end of the season, Dwight’s average was a staggering 20 points and 20 rebounds per game.
In the 2009 Eastern Conference, Dwight closed out the finals with an average of 40.14 rebounds. That was Orlando’s first ever victory in the finals. After that, he had a few more dominant seasons.
Before leaving ‘Orlando Magic’, Dwight had already made the team a strong contender in the NBA scene. By the end of it all, he had two ‘Conference Player of the Week’ awards and a record for the highest number of blocks and rebounds in a single season.
On August 10, 2012, Dwight joined ‘Los Angeles Lakers’. After joining the team, Dwight suffered the lowest score of his career. The reason behind his sudden downfall was his injuries. While he was battling a terrible back injury, he was also facing criticisms for leaving ‘Orlando Magic’. Also, he was blamed for not following the rules of the system.
In the 2012-2013 season with the ‘Lakers’, Dwight's average came down to 12.4 rebounds and 2.4 blocks per game. By the end of the season, Dwight needed a surgery to remove a big lump of muscles from his back.
On July 13, 2013, Dwight chose to play for ‘Houston Rockets’ and was positioned at power forward. He returned to his former position, Centre forward, after Omer Asik failed terribly while playing in that position.
This time too, Dwight could not deliver the same kind of performance that he had delivered for ‘Orlando Magic’, but still succeeded in making some records. He became the youngest player of the team to score more than 10 field goals in a row.
On October 27, 2016, Dwight played his first game for ‘Atlanta Hawks’. His performance while playing for this team was nowhere close to the performance that he had delivered for ‘Orlando Magic’. But it was better than his performance while playing for ‘Lakers’. However, the team’s performance dropped in the latter half of the season.
Dwight next played for ‘Charlotte Hornets’ and is still playing for the team. He continued with his average performance but still managed to deliver some spectacular performances in bits and pieces. He made his debut for the team on October 18, 2017, and scored 10 points, 15 rebounds and two blocks. However, the team lost the game to ‘Detroit Pistons’.
Dwight then managed to perform well and contributed to his team’s win in the next few matches. He ended the season with a score of 29 points, 12 rebounds and seven assists against ‘Golden State Warriors’, which was his best performance in that particular season.