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#pounditSunday, January 29, 2023

Dwight Howard says ‘politics’ kept him off NBA’s 75th Anniversary team

Dwight Howard

Los Angeles Lakers center Dwight Howard was one of the more surprising omissions from the NBA’s 75th Anniversary team this year, and he has a theory for why he was left off.

Howard spoke this week with Taylor Rooks of Bleacher Report and said that he was kept off the team for political reasons.

“I knew I wasn’t going to be on it,” Howard said. “Politics. I already knew. I knew as soon as they made a 75 list, I said, ‘Yeah, they ain’t gonna put me on the 75 list. I’m not gonna be on it. Forget about it.’

“I knew they was not going to put me on that list,” he continued. “I most definitely should be on that list, but it’s OK. I’m not upset about it. I was for probably, like, 30 seconds. I said, ‘You know what. Life is great. I’m alive. I’m still playing basketball in my 18th season. Who cares about a list made by people who ain’t never bounced a basketball before? Who cares?”

Based on his body of work, it is pretty clear that Howard should have made the list. At his peak in Orlando, Howard was a 25-15 threat every night who was the two-way anchor of an NBA Finals team in 2009 and was one of the only players to ever beat LeBron James in the Eastern Conference playoffs. His resume includes eight All-Star appearances, eight All-NBA selections, five All-Defensive selections, three Defensive Player of the Year Awards, five times leading the league in rebounding, and two times leading the league in blocks. As the cherry on top, Howard also won an NBA title with the Lakers in 2020 as their starting center in the Finals.

That said, Howard’s reputation became its own animal in recent years. He played for seven teams in the last decade and grew to be known as immature at best and a destructive locker room presence at worst. Before the Lakers signed Howard in 2019, they even reportedly believed he hit rock bottom.

The 35-year-old has improved his standing lately by graciously accepting a reduced role off the bench. But Orlando Dwight is still a distant memory in the minds of many, and Howard believes that recency bias ultimately cost him a spot on the NBA 75 team.

Photo: Jan 15, 2016; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Rockets center Dwight Howard (12) arrives at Toyota Center before a game against the Cleveland Cavaliers. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

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