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Hakeem Olajuwon regrets describing Dwight Howard as ‘raw’

Sep 19, 2013, 8:00 AM EDT

Sacramento Kings v Houston Rockets Getty Images

If there’s one thing we’ve learned about Dwight Howard the person through his last season in Orlando and during his ill-fated stint with the Lakers, it’s that he’s extremely sensitive to anything that can be perceived as negative that’s being said about him, in virtually any context.

Howard has been working out with Hakeem Olajuwon since joining the Rockets this summer, and Olajuwon at one point described Howard as still being a “very raw” talent.

That probably didn’t go over so well with Howard, despite Olajuwon, now a team employee in Houston, having no ill intent by delivering those comments.

Nevertheless, we can’t have the ultra-sensitive Howard being unhappy in Houston before he even plays his first regular season game there, so Olajuwon publicly went ahead and backpedaled from his initial assessment.

From Mark Berman of MyFoxHouston:

During the interview with FOX 26 Sports Olajuwon took time out to “correct” quotes that were recently attributed to him in a story where he reportedly said Howard is “raw.”

“That was insulting,” Olajuwon said. “The guy’s been in the league for 10 years. Every time I work with him, I see him train, I’m more impressed to see how much talent and how far he can take it.

“So how can you say that kind of player is raw. I was very upset because that was insulting to me and to Dwight.”

It’s unclear whether Olajuwon is upset with himself for making the comments, or if he’s disputing them entirely and is upset that they were wrongly attributed to him.

Either way, it’s not great press for Howard and the Rockets.

If Dwight remains so sensitive that he can’t read or hear honest assessments of where he is professionally from one of the game’s all-time greats — who, by the way, has been charged with trying to improve his game through coaching — then the Rockets will be no different than the Lakers or the Magic in terms of places where Howard is unhappy with how he’s publicly portrayed by those around him.

Now, Howard hasn’t said a word in response to Olajuwon’s initial remark, so this is (obviously) purely speculative. But there’s no reason for Olajuwon to backtrack on a relatively harmless comment like this unless he heard about it from someone — either in the Rockets front office, or from Howard himself.

  1. sellahh - Sep 19, 2013 at 8:16 AM

    What a child Dwight is (-:

  2. 1heatedtoombrayduh - Sep 19, 2013 at 9:05 AM

    If the dream says you are raw…then you are RAW.. “somebody” (cough cough ) Dwight must have had a problem with the term, because the dream basically said the same thing..he has so much talent and can take it furhter aka RAW in that area lol..

  3. sham13ert - Sep 19, 2013 at 9:11 AM

    Dream, there are 2 promising bigs in Detroit that would like you to coach them.

    Leave Houston, Dwight will never give you credit when he gets better and he’ll throw you under the bus when he’s down.

  4. johngalt1783 - Sep 19, 2013 at 10:18 AM

    My guess is we can attribute the raw comment to a disgruntled Lakers blogger/writer. Lakers fans are trying to mentally adjust to being in the lottery and having a tough go of it with rationalizations about it coming fast and furious.

    • Kurt Helin - Sep 19, 2013 at 1:28 PM

      The word raw came directly from Hakeem, he was quoted directly.

  5. Anoesis - Sep 19, 2013 at 10:41 AM

    And so it begins. Olajuwon having to backpedal on an accurate summation of Howard’s play is sad. This is why Howard left the Lakers, an inability to accept constructive criticism. If he thought going to Houston would dim the spotlight on his shortcomings, he thought wrong.

  6. jolink653 - Sep 19, 2013 at 10:43 AM

    Houston started with The Dream and now they’re gonna be stuck with Dwightmares until his contract is up…I’ve never seen a more mentally soft athlete than Dwight Howard

  7. chargerdillon - Sep 19, 2013 at 11:33 AM

    He regrets saying Dwight is “raw”. What he meant to say is Dwight is soft.

  8. dylude - Sep 19, 2013 at 12:28 PM

    “This is pure speculation” … But I’ll continue to speculate.


  9. losanginsight - Sep 19, 2013 at 12:40 PM

    This damage control took a while longer than expected.

  10. hachiharu - Sep 19, 2013 at 12:47 PM

    No team can make her happy. It is just the matter of time she will ask for trading her teammates and firing her coach, then finally ask for a trade for himself.

  11. fotydaze - Sep 19, 2013 at 2:48 PM

    It’s funny, here is one of the top centers of all time. He knows he meant raw because D12 is raw. He destroyed Shaq, imagine what the Dream would have done to Dwight because I’m sure he has

    • kb2408 - Sep 19, 2013 at 7:21 PM

      He destroyed Shaq when Shaq was a pup. But from around 1999-2003, Shaq was destroying any and everything in his wake. And he would’ve done the same to Dream had he still been around then.

  12. kb2408 - Sep 19, 2013 at 7:18 PM

    I can tell you exactly what happened. Dream finally realized why Dwight has been pouting and looking like someone stole his puppy for the last two months. Just goes to show that just because a guy looks like an Adonis doesn’t mean he’s emotionally and mentally strong.

  13. imakcds - Sep 19, 2013 at 7:52 PM

    so even a Hall of Famer has to tip toe around the new kid?? we certainly don’t want to upset him.
    McHale is on limited borrowed time also.

  14. mytthor - Sep 19, 2013 at 10:35 PM

    I think it’s funny that Mike D’Antoni got so much flack for refusing to make Dwight Howard post ups the focal point of his offense – when nobody in their right mind thinks that a team can win a championship with an offense based around Dwight in the post.

  15. topdawg4ever - Sep 20, 2013 at 1:00 PM

    Oh, here we go! The Dwightmare begins! Why the hell does Hakeem have to backtrack on an honest opinion? Dwight needs to get even more criticism if it’s warranted- maybe that will be the only way he improves. What a whiny beotch.

  16. pdidit09 - Sep 21, 2013 at 10:53 AM

    Dwight haters are awake. Hakeem is GREAT! There is not one statement from Dwight. I bet he is loving Houston and training with The Dream.

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