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Dwight Howard after workouts with Hakeem Olajuwon: ‘It’s not about emulating Dream.’

Aug 13, 2013, 7:49 PM EDT

Houston Rockets Introduce Dwight Howard Getty Images

Dwight Howard wasn’t exactly receptive to criticism during his season with the Lakers, constructive or otherwise. He resisted playing the pick-and-roll offense that Mike D’Antoni wanted to run, and instead wanted more touches in the post, where the results were mixed at best.

Howard is attempting to improve his play down low by working out with Hakeem Olajuwon, whom the team hired for that express purpose following the signing of Howard in free agency.

While Howard was reportedly attentive and engaged throughout the workout session with Olajuwon and Kevin McHale, there still appears to be a certain level of resistance embedded somewhere in his psyche.

From Jason Friedman of

“Having these guys in my backyard and have them pushing me to the limit is just going to make me better,” said Howard after his 90-minute workout wrapped up. “It’s not about emulating Dream. That’s the thing. We get caught up in comparing players, trying to do what this guys does just because you work with him. The thing is, when you workout with a guy like Hakeem or Kevin McHale, you take away certain things. You don’t try to do everything they can do. I could workout with Michael Jordan, but I’m not going to be able to shoot the fadeaway like Michael Jordan.

Setting aside for a moment that Howard’s analogy makes zero sense — Michael Jordan, of course, was a shooting guard, while Olajuwon and McHale had Hall of Fame careers playing the same positions as Howard — this is either Howard trying to keep expectations low, or a sign that he still doesn’t get it.

There’s no reason not to try and emulate two of the greatest big men of all time, unless ego is getting in the way. Howard’s history would suggest that might be a possibility.

There’s more to it, obviously, and we won’t know how much Howard was willing to embrace until we see if he’s improved offensively during the regular season. The entire piece is well-written and definitely worth a read — though as a fair warning, Lakers fans may suffer vision loss from the extreme rolling of the eyes that may occur while digesting the article’s contents.

  1. historyisyourfriend - Aug 14, 2013 at 2:20 PM

    Total hack piece.

    Hakeem was a top 3 offensive center of all time, whereas Howard makes his living on defense. They are built differently, as Hakeem was probably the quickest in the modern era, with unbelievable footwork.

    Dwight’s comments do not show that “he doesn’t get it,” but rather that he does get it. The fact that he is working out with him and trying to improve is the important part. That he recognizes that he doesn’t need to be Hakeem (and couldn’t be if he tried) to be successful only bodes well for him.

    Total hack post by savvybynature. Olajuwon made his living on defense too – go ahead and look up his stats. THE career leader in blocked shots (3800+, 600 more than the next closest guy by the name of Mutumbo) and one of the all tme best rebounders, a two time NBA Defensive Player of the Year winner, 4x 2nd team all NBA Defense, and 5x NBA 1st team all defense. Olajuwon on both sides of the ball was indeed a nightmare for the opposition. Trying to pidgeon hole him as offense only is a joke.

    See my e-nick for what you should be studying when it comes to sports…

    • trollaikman8 - Aug 14, 2013 at 3:12 PM

      Don’t even waste your time educating these 17yr olds.
      Hakeem was the most complete big man to ever play the game and his game evolved every season.
      Dwight Howard is the most expensive project ever and this experiment will ultimately end in Houston tears….not because Howard isn’t physically capable, but because he’s mentally incompetent.

    • savvybynature - Aug 15, 2013 at 4:52 PM

      I literally did not say a single thing about Hakeem’s defense. Nothing. At all. Read it again.
      This is what’s called arguing with an empty chair. Easy to win an argument when your opponent is a figment of imagination.
      (And Olajuwan was a great all-time center btw, no doubt about it. Top 5 in my book. Saying he was great at offense isn’t pigeonholing him, or “pidgeon holing” as you put it. Just like saying Bo Jackson was a great running back wouldn’t imply that he sucked at baseball)

  2. thetooloftools - Aug 14, 2013 at 2:42 PM

    Howard is just a clownboy. He doesn’t take the game seriously and has no heart. Howard just doesn’t get it and he doesn’t care.

  3. 32magicman - Aug 15, 2013 at 2:20 AM

    Same attitude he had last year when he could have had two of the leagues best ever free throw shooters , nash and kobe, help him but his ego wouldn’t let him. A very small brain inside a very thick skull.

  4. s7sixers3 - Aug 25, 2013 at 5:14 PM

    so if dwight says he is emulating hakeem, this writer would say “how dare you even say you can emulate someone as great as hakeem?? there is no comparison!”

    stop picking on his words. ridiculous media.

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