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Dwight Howard responds to Kareem’s attack on his game, mental fortitude

Oct 4, 2013, 4:21 PM EDT

Houston Rockets Introduce Dwight Howard Getty Images

We need some games soon, because I am weary of talking about Dwight Howard leaving the Lakers.

But not everyone is done talking about it — Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was talking about it. Kareem and Howard have never meshed well. Which is putting it kindly. They are civil, but very different people with different views on a lot of things.

Kareem is promoting his new book and went on ESPN’s First Take and said this:

“Dwight is an extraordinary athlete, he has incredible athletic ability, but basketball is a game where the most important muscle you use on the court is the one between your ears. Dwight’s basketball IQ is not up to speed for him to be a dominant player. He has problems at both ends of the court, he doesn’t have a go-to move. I had to prepare Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum to play against Dwight in the playoffs in 2009 for the World Championship and it was an easy job, because if you take certain things away from him he doesn’t have an answer for it. So he needs to develop some skills, at both ends of the court, that would enable him to consistently contribute to a winning effort, and he hasn’t done that.”

Speaking to Dave Zangaro of CSNHouston.com, Howard responded on Friday.

“Well you know, I don’t pay any attention to that stuff,” Howard said on Friday just off the floor of the Toyota Center. “I did hear about it but everybody is entitled to their own opinion. When I joined the Lakers, I was the greatest center and then when I left, I was the worst, mentally I wasn’t capable of playing center. I understand that a lot of things are said out of emotion but I would say that if he has anything to say, I’m here in Houston. We can talk man to man. That’s how I feel about it…

“I mean, it’s emotion and the fact that I left the Lakers. It is what it is,” Howard said. “I’m in a great place right now. And there’s no need for me to go back and forth with him. The one thing I would say is that he’s old enough that whatever I do, doesn’t even matter to him.

“I mean, he’s Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. If I’m Kareem, I’m like ‘why?’ Four championships, five championships, whatever (note: six). I’ve been in Airplane, did movies with Bruce Lee. I’m not worried about the young whippersnappers, you know. Just wish him good luck. But people do things different and when I’m done playing I’m going to do whatever I can to help the next generation get better.”

Howard has said he likes working with Hakeem Olajuwon better because Olajuwon’s game was more about quickness than Kareem’s and Howard knows his greatest asset is quickness. There’s something to that, but he also certainly could have learned from Kareem, who was an incredibly fundamentally sound player.

Whatever. Lakers fans hate Howard and they will boo him when the time comes. Howard will say he doesn’t care but he will feel a little stung. And eventually everyone will move on.

Then we can start talking about games. Finally.

  1. grapenutz08 - Oct 4, 2013 at 4:28 PM

    Im not sure Howard will care about Laker fans booing him…..just like he didnt care about Orlando fans booing him when he was a Laker.

    and just like that game in March (39pts, 16rebs) hes going to do his talking on the court. Condolences to Pau and Kaman in advance

    • mytthor - Oct 5, 2013 at 1:09 AM

      Pau is an average defender at best and he contained Dwight in the finals. More evidence that Dwight doesn’t have what it takes to carry a team to a championship. So many people talk about how D’Antoni was dumb for not running the offense through Dwight in the post. Forgetting that no great offense has ever successfully run through Dwight in the post. Including/especially, the 09 magic which was all about that offense Dwight hates – pick and roll.

      • topdawg4ever - Oct 5, 2013 at 1:26 PM

        …and the guy ends up going to Houston to play…the pick and roll. What a genius.

  2. norcalkingsfan - Oct 4, 2013 at 4:34 PM

    Dwight needs to learn the art of the “no comment.”

    • gmsingh - Oct 7, 2013 at 3:02 PM

      I thought for sure his response was going to be “I want to be traded.”

  3. eureca323 - Oct 4, 2013 at 4:35 PM

    Kareem seems to be giving an honest assessment about Dwight when he was asked about him. Dwight thinks he feels this way because hes not a Laker anymore, but most people have felt the same about Dwight way before he ever became a Laker. Its always been obvious that Dwight was at his best on defense and used his strength and athleticism to combat his lack of offensive moves.

  4. antistratfordian - Oct 4, 2013 at 4:37 PM

    But, Kareem, the brain is not a muscle.

    And you don’t need a single “go-to” move just because Kareem had one.

    Kareem thinks that if you don’t have a move as popular as his then you must be lacking something. LeBron doesn’t have a single go-to move either – he subscribes to Bruce Lee’s theory of being formless and shapeless like water, always ready to adapt to the situation – so he has 20 go-to moves, depending on what the defense presents. This is what more players should aspire to (and also how Kareem himself got his butt kicked in Game of Death).

    • Anoesis - Oct 4, 2013 at 10:39 PM

      It’s been well documented that the brain responds to stimuli, much as a muscle does. When not stimulated it atrophies, much as a muscle does.

      Abdul-Jabbar had much more of a game than just his skyhook. Too bad you never got to see him play.

      It really doesn’t matter what a Laker (or ex-Laker, for that matter) says, you go out of your way to contradict it. Why not just change your handle to “Anti” without the superfluous ending?

      • antistratfordian - Oct 4, 2013 at 10:51 PM

        You assume too much, Anoesis. I saw Kareem win 5 rings. I didn’t say the hook was the only game he had, but he suggests that a player must have something like a skyhook or a fadeaway “go-to” move – but this is not true.

        Right now I am Anti-Anoesis. ;)

    • asimonetti88 - Oct 5, 2013 at 5:53 PM

      “LeBron doesn’t have a single go-to move either”

      Do you even watch basketball?

      • antistratfordian - Oct 5, 2013 at 6:28 PM

        LeBron has an endless list of go-to moves.

  5. jeffw - Oct 4, 2013 at 4:43 PM

    Dwight definitely took the high road here. I would have been: “Did Kareem make these comments before or after he smoked a pound of weed? Before or after he filed his latest bankruptcy?”

    • kb2408 - Oct 4, 2013 at 5:01 PM

      Every single thing KAJ said is correct. He’s not the only one that has said such things. One doesn’t have to be an NBA legend to see the things KAJ said about Dwight. Have you watched Dwight since he came in the league? Tell me what did KAJ say that wasn’t spot on.

    • cmehustle - Oct 4, 2013 at 5:02 PM

      Lol! Definetly after. He wakes and bakes every morning now.

      • kb2408 - Oct 4, 2013 at 5:21 PM

        Even if he does, he still more about the game of basketball, and in particular, playing center in the NBA, than most people on this planet.

    • antistratfordian - Oct 4, 2013 at 7:18 PM

      Or he could’ve said:

      “Can someone refresh my memory and tell me how many times Lew lead his team to the NBA finals without Oscar Robertson or Magic Johnson? That was a rhetorical question. The answer is 0 times and the most games Mr. Alcindor had ever won without The Big O or Magic is 56. Well I won 59 and went to the Finals without another hall of famer on my team – I even beat the greatest player ever in LeBron James. So Ferdinand Lewis Alcindor Jr. can go —- himself.”

      • musician0785 - Oct 4, 2013 at 7:28 PM

        ^^^^ Dumbest Logic Ever

      • antistratfordian - Oct 4, 2013 at 7:30 PM

        Can’t argue with results. Solo-Dwight took his team farther than Solo-Lew ever did. It is only a fact, don’t let it get you down.

      • scottheis82 - Oct 4, 2013 at 11:02 PM

        Antistratfordian, what you’ve just posted is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever read. At no point in your rambling, incoherent comment were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone on this Site is now dumber for having read it. I award you no thumbs up, and may God have mercy on your soul.
        #Billy Madison

      • antistratfordian - Oct 5, 2013 at 12:20 AM

        #TriteReply

      • cambo0019 - Oct 5, 2013 at 12:11 AM

        un huh…..and Kareem has so many career points that barely 1% of the league will ever even sniff at his numbers! Come on @anti its clear that you just dislike the laker’s and their talent that has come along.
        Dwight does need a go to move because NONE of his current moves are moves that he can count on. Guys can get a fade-away shot anytime they want, guys can get HOOK shots anytime they want, and dwight cannot do any of these with consistency. Nor has he really worked on it. We all watch a lot of ball, his offensive game has not improved very much whatsoever.

        So you tell me why he wouldn’t need a go to move when none of his current moves can be counted on?

      • antistratfordian - Oct 5, 2013 at 12:48 AM

        Dwight has career averages of 18.3 points and 57.7% shooting. Would you care to know how many players in history have career averages that reach those levels? Yes, you would.

        The answer is two.

        1. Shaquille O’Neal
        2. Dwight Howard

        Now, my boy Bill Russell averaged 15 points on 44% shooting on his career and you’ve never heard anybody complain about him not having a go-to move. Why? Defense + playing with insane amount of talent around him + winning = no criticism. Dwight is kind of in that same category as Russell in that defense is his specialty and he is also the preeminent defensive big of his day. Howard, though, is a much better offensive player and never had the luxury of playing with five other hall of famers at the same time like Russell did.

        In short… you can take your go-to move and shove it where you love it. He’s doing just fine.

      • scottheis82 - Oct 5, 2013 at 1:10 AM

        @ anti, your existence is trite. You quote stats and information that others provide to you, I quote a movie. Here I’ll quote another; This is what happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object.
        # Dark Knight

      • antistratfordian - Oct 5, 2013 at 1:38 AM

        No, in this case I did not quote stats and information that others provided me. The information I provided here was secured via my own research.

        You, on the other hand, borrowed a ubiquitous method of response which may have still passed as sufficient five years ago but today is acutely meh-inducing.

        You even put a hashtag on it.

        Bless his heart.

      • scottheis82 - Oct 5, 2013 at 1:12 AM

        KOBE/LAKER haters have come and gone… You’re just the latest in a long line of redundant posters.

      • ocgunslinger - Oct 5, 2013 at 9:54 AM

        Anti….you rarely have a logical or intelligent comment.

      • JMClarkent - Oct 5, 2013 at 10:25 AM

        Dwight Howard had Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash last year – I cannot say that it did wonders for his trophy case…

      • jimeejohnson - Oct 5, 2013 at 12:28 PM

        Lakers fans are like delusional right wintNUTS.

      • musician0785 - Oct 5, 2013 at 12:39 PM

        first of all using that logic solo lebron took his team farther than solo Jordan so lebron is better…secondly all those times where he had magic and oscar on his team HE WAS THE MVP OF THE LEAGUE, 6 times over…so spare me with that help nonsense….

      • Anoesis - Oct 5, 2013 at 12:45 PM

        Just curious, jimmy, what’s a “wintnut?” And is there a wrong wintnut? Or just the right one?

      • topdawg4ever - Oct 5, 2013 at 1:30 PM

        …and that would be the most moronic thing he could say. Which fits Dwight perfectly.

  6. jkaflagg - Oct 4, 2013 at 5:07 PM

    KAJ just taking his cues from Jeannie Buss….when selling one’s book, “controversial” statements in the media are a must for free publicity…..

  7. metrocritical - Oct 4, 2013 at 5:18 PM

    KAJ was spot on with his statements, with or without malice. Dwight’s initial response was appropriate enough. Next, he should muster some growth in his game and a some mental toughness and maturity and let that be his final statement on the subject.

  8. 5xchamp24 - Oct 4, 2013 at 5:39 PM

    True. But only one problem. I don’t think his game is going to grow anymore and I don’t see him getting or maturing.

    • topdawg4ever - Oct 5, 2013 at 1:31 PM

      True. You have to have the brainpower and innate intelligence to actually LEARN. I don’t think DH is very bright.

  9. 5xchamp24 - Oct 4, 2013 at 5:43 PM

    True. But only one problem. I don’t think his game is going to grow anymore and I don’t see him getting tough or maturing.

    • antistratfordian - Oct 4, 2013 at 7:56 PM

      He doesn’t really need his game to grow. He only needs to do what he was doing on the Magic but with better teammates. Winning will make it seem like his game has grown.

      • cambo0019 - Oct 5, 2013 at 12:15 AM

        That makes no sense at this moment. What he has been doing isn’t enough, if it were, then you’d see the results that he clearly wants for himself. The problem is, is that he’s not doing what other people want him to do! He’s doing his own thing and its not amounting to much at all.

        He can’t shoot a baby jumper well, can’t shoot free throws well, can’t shoot a mid range jumper at all, can’t dribble well, can’t shoot a hook very well, and the list goes on and on…..stretch 4’s & 5’s give him the fits etc…etc…..

        Although defensively he’s a beast he’s a liability on offense and remember that he see’s himself as a go to guy in the clutch! He has a long way to go…

      • antistratfordian - Oct 5, 2013 at 1:05 AM

        Only 9 players have scored more points than Dwight Howard since his rookie season. You know their names… your Kobes, your LeBrons, your Wades, your Dirks, your Melos, etc…

        But Dwight has also led the league in rebounding five times, led the league in blocks twice, and won the Defensive Player of the Year award three times.

        The only player of the 9 ahead of him in scoring who can match or exceed that amount of accolades in that time period (2005-2013) is probably LeBron and his 6 total MVPs and 1 scoring title. Kobe is up there too with his 3 total MVPs and his 2 scoring titles. But that’s about it.

  10. jhuck92 - Oct 4, 2013 at 5:46 PM

    Howard is a fool. He’s hearing (constructive) criticism from the best center of all time, and he perceives it as trash talk. The center position in the NBA is truly dead when Dwight Howard is the best we can come up with

  11. chargerdillon - Oct 4, 2013 at 6:03 PM

    It’s sad to me that if you criticize Howard and that makes you a hater. As if people not entitled to their opinion on the matter.

    I think anybody who’d watch a guy put up bad free throw after bad free throw to lose a game and then walk off the court smiling as if it’s no big deal is going to rub ANYBODY the wrong way about this guys commitment to his team and his own legacy.

    For all the embarrassment this guy continues to do to himself I don’t mind hating on him, but that doesn’t mean in ANY capacity I hate him. If I were to be wrong and suddenly Dwight comes back better than ever, as an NBA fan i benefit from getting to watch him on a team that otherwise would be an afterthought.

    I have every intent to watch him play for the Rockets and even root for him to succeed, but I truly believe at the same time part of his draw now is to not be the train wreck he was last year. The way I would tune in to a Heat game to watch them look like the most talented athletes in the game today I will tune in to watch Howard show if he can do anything more than just talk.

    I will be the first to admit I was wrong about Dwight if indeed he can prove that. It’s like being a parent, I’m not mad, I’m just disappointed.

    • antistratfordian - Oct 4, 2013 at 8:35 PM

      Dwight wasn’t a train wreck last year, the Lakers were. Dwight actually impressed. He probably shouldn’t have been playing, but he kept at it anyway and still comfortably led the league in rebounding.

      Nash, Gasol and Dwight all had their PERs dip below 20 for the first time in years. It is not a coincidence that Kobe’s actually increased as he forcefully and counter-intuitively dominated the ball most of the season. That was the source of the Lakers problems.

      Back when Gasol first joined the Lakers Kobe let go of the ball a bit more to accommodate him and his Usage Percentage dipped to 31.4 and the Lakers found success. You would think if you then threw in Steve Nash and Dwight Howard that Kobe’s Usage Percentage would dip below 31.4… but it did not. It was 31.9%.

      For the Lakers to have had success with Nash, Kobe, Dwight and Gasol, Mamba’s Usage Percentage should’ve been about 28%. He needed to play more like he did on Team USA. But Mamba disagreed. Mamba was wrong.

      • scottheis82 - Oct 4, 2013 at 10:45 PM

        Interesting logic… Tell me this stat boy, what was his per for the portion of the season when the other players you named where actually on the court?

      • scottheis82 - Oct 4, 2013 at 10:47 PM

        * usage percentage

      • scottheis82 - Oct 4, 2013 at 10:49 PM

        What you said ’bout my Mamba? Lol

      • cambo0019 - Oct 5, 2013 at 12:18 AM

        so now injuries make your team a train wreck? They didn’t even get to play 30 games total together the WHOLE DAMN SEASON!

        Man you say wild things and are typically backed up by flat out bias and nothing else.

      • antistratfordian - Oct 5, 2013 at 12:42 AM

        They were terrible before the injuries – they were terrible during the injuries – they were terrible after the injuries.

        Their season was done when they went winless in the preseason. Lakers fans didn’t want to accept that, but their problems were obvious early and often. It stemmed mostly from the fact that they were poor defensively and because their offense didn’t make an ounce of sense.

      • scottheis82 - Oct 5, 2013 at 2:33 AM

        @ anti, you were terrible before this comment, you were terrible during this comment, and you’ll be terrible after this comment…
        One question are you really Charles Barkley?

      • antistratfordian - Oct 5, 2013 at 2:46 AM

        Nah, I’m a fantastic guy. Handsome, charming, funny, smart. Your wife would love me.

      • scottheis82 - Oct 5, 2013 at 8:28 AM

        @ anti, look everybody he’s getting frustrated. Anti’s gone from trying to pretend he’s the smartest person on this Site to attempts at wife cracks…. I’m loving this

      • jimeejohnson - Oct 5, 2013 at 12:30 PM

        Lakers fans are as narrow minded as any stupid Republican.

      • Anoesis - Oct 5, 2013 at 1:16 PM

        Anti-

        More mangled logic from the Dwight Howard School of Convenient Excuses.

        “They were terrible before the injuries – they were terrible during the injuries – they were terrible after the injuries.”

        Except for just one tiny factoid: In the last three months of the regular season they went 25-11 after finally getting everyone back. Your diploma is in the mail.

      • antistratfordian - Oct 5, 2013 at 6:21 PM

        Yeah, that was during that run where they lost at home to the Wizards. They ended the season going 9-5, losing three in a row at one point. Their problems were still there under the surface. They could mask it for a while… I remember them going on a 5 game win streak – Lakers fans declaring that they’ve finally figured it out – then they lose 6 in a row.

        The first round outcome would’ve been pretty much the same with or without Kobe.

      • topdawg4ever - Oct 5, 2013 at 1:37 PM

        So you thought Dwight was impressive when he got ejected in game 4? That’s a sign of a leader? Or a winner?

      • antistratfordian - Oct 5, 2013 at 6:24 PM

        He got that from being on the Lakers. It’s learned behavior. That’s how the Lakers have rolled recently… when they’re getting embarrassed or feel threatened they last out or react negatively.

  12. eugenesaxe1 - Oct 4, 2013 at 6:40 PM

    Continued proof of howard’s ignorance…

  13. teabone13 - Oct 4, 2013 at 6:51 PM

    for you retards out there.. kareem is one of the most cerebral humans on the planet. most of us would be lucky to be half as intelligent as him. also, dwight is a dumbass. rich dumbass.. but a dumbass nonetheless.

    • antistratfordian - Oct 4, 2013 at 8:19 PM

      Kareem is a moron (it’s not just him, most athletes are, it’s a time management issue). I am at least 3x more intelligent than he is, easily.

      • ranfan12 - Oct 4, 2013 at 10:55 PM

        Where’s your physical evidence to back up such claims?

      • Anoesis - Oct 5, 2013 at 12:11 AM

        Glad you cleared that up with your usual humility.

      • lhollis74 - Oct 5, 2013 at 2:37 AM

        You are a damn fool and prove it everyday! Kareem was an honor student throughout high school guaranteed an academic scholarship regardless of his basketball skills! Look it up idiot! He has been known to be an extremely avid reader his entire life. I remember seeing him on many many occasions at laker games reading, during his early playing days, he would ignore reporters and pull out a newspaper and read it ignoring the press as they tried to interview him! If you bothered to read something other than backs of cereal boxes ou wouldn’t spout such uninformed garbage! You are a prime example of my favorite personal saying; stupid people are unaware of much they don’t know, an intelligent person knows there is an infinite amount of knowledge to be obtained! Research your own comments before you press ‘post’!!!!

      • antistratfordian - Oct 5, 2013 at 3:12 AM

        Cute. When I read that my first thought was, “This guy is 14 years old and/or incredibly naive. Honor student in high school? An avid reader? Look it up!!? This kid can’t be serious.”

        1) I’m aware of Lew’s education.
        2) Honor students tremble in my presence.
        3) Still at least 3x more intelligent than Ferdinand Alcindor and 4x more intelligent than anyone you know. (I’m cutting both of you some slack on this one)

      • jimeejohnson - Oct 5, 2013 at 12:32 PM

        Kareem’s intelligence was facilitated in NY. Los Angeles schools are a joke, which explains the low level of intelligence of the L.A.Lakers fans.

  14. rickyspanish - Oct 4, 2013 at 8:17 PM

    chargerdillon

    “I’m not mad, I’m disappointed” cut me like a knife when parents dropped that on me.

  15. Anoesis - Oct 5, 2013 at 12:15 AM

    That’s a pretty long quote on the subject for a guy who says he doesn’t pay attention to such things. Then again, Howard has grossly misrepresented himself to two organizations now. When scores of people from coast to coast keep coming to the same conclusions about you it might be time to take an honest look in the mirror.

  16. rohlo - Oct 5, 2013 at 1:15 AM

    Kareem says use what’s between your ears? Isn’t kareem the on that got popped sending weed to himself in the mail? Might have been parrish! None the less he has been popped for weed! People in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones!

  17. fotydaze - Oct 5, 2013 at 3:13 AM

    D12, grow up, ANTI, you’re an idiot!!! I’m sure it’s not news to you but I said it anyway.

  18. beastnampy - Oct 5, 2013 at 6:01 AM

    Lmao kaj the greateat center of all time. No. no. Wrong he 6 r 7 at best. top 3 hakeem. Wc bill r

  19. beijae50 - Oct 5, 2013 at 7:10 AM

    You mean to tell me that you couldn’t learn anything from Kareem or Patrick Ewing? I think you just confirmed the point about your IQ

  20. urodaddy07 - Oct 5, 2013 at 12:15 PM

    Regarding DH’s response, he should note Hakeem’s great footwork, his realizable jumper, his impressive post game and decent free throw percentage. It wasn’t all about quickness. Also, it doesn’t say much about his basketball IQ that he could not learn anything from all the great HOF big men he had worked with in the past.

  21. edwardemanuelson - Oct 5, 2013 at 12:59 PM

    I am no D12 fan by any means, and am definitely not a Laker or Ricket fan either. But, boy do i sure become less and less fond of Kareem every time he speaks. In my opinion, he has proven himself to be one of the most arrogant celebrities of all time. Get a life. Let Dwight just move on. He made his decision to leave the Lakers, deal with it. You were one of the greatest ever, you’ve won 6 titles, and 6 MVPs and got your stature outside the arena (after complaining about it). Congrats! You have nothing to prove to anyone! Enjoy retirement, or being a consultant, or whatever it is you do these days.

    Didn’t Shaq not particularly like Kareem either?

    • topdawg4ever - Oct 5, 2013 at 1:44 PM

      Kareem was asked for his opinion on a sports show. Just like all the greats. The thing is, Kareem is saying the same thing a lot of other great players have said about Dwight.

      • adamsjohn714 - Oct 6, 2013 at 6:32 AM

        Every sports “analyst” on TV says Kobe is a great clutch player… Once a narrative gets out there and gains momentum, very rarely does someone combat it. It’s not a logical argument. It just shows that Kareem can hear what other people say. Now, all the greats aren’t necessarily wrong, but their reasoning is inherently flawed.

  22. MyTeamsAllStink - Oct 5, 2013 at 2:59 PM

    THE HELL I DONT!Im out there busting my butt every night.

    look kid you tell your old man to carry Bynum and Hibbert 48 up and down the court for 48 minutes.

  23. wsuperman4445 - Oct 10, 2013 at 11:42 AM

    I keep hearing how Dwight carried the Magic on his back and that he was single handedly dragged them to the finals. this is a bunch of crap that has been allowed to fester too long. The Truth of the matter is that the team was built around Dwight’s skill set at Defense and the Pick and Roll. We ( The Magic spent lots of Money to get the best 3 point specialist in the game at that time. for what was termed a a Outside 3 point attempts with an Inside pick and roll with Dwight to clean up the interior. when this was first introduced the other teams did not have an answer for this hence we went to the finals, But our problem was that instead of developing from one year to the next we stood pat and other teams learned how to combat the stretch defensive as it was now being called. again the team was developed around Dwight’s skill sets. now, since his back surgery and since he does not have some signature moves you will now see the weakness in Dwight’s Game, starting this year I am betting he goes out on a sickness leave ( aggravated back) is my guess before considering wanting to be traded yet again.. you WILL have drama again this year mark my words.. Orlando Magic Fan..

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