Dwight Howard Speaker Profile
Dwight Howard Biography
Dwight Howard was born December 8, 1985 and is a basketball player for the Hoston Rocksts of the National Basketball Association (NBA). Howard, who usually plays center but can also play power forward, had an outstanding high school career at Southwest Atlanta Christian Academy. He chose to forgo college and entered the 2004 NBA Draft, and was selected first overall by the Magic. A five-time All-Star, four-time All-NBA team selection, three-time All-Defensive member, and two-time Defensive Player of the Year, Howard has been ranked consistently as one of the best in the league in rebounds, blocks, field goal percentage and free throw attempts, and has set numerous franchise and league records. He has led the Magic to three division titles and one conference title, and he was the winner of the 2008 NBA Slam Dunk Contest. In the 2008 Olympics, he was the starting center for Team USA, which went on to win the gold medal. A grass roots campaign called StayDwight.com was started in April of 2011 for fans to come together to show their support of Dwight and help keep him in Orlando for years to come.
Before he was drafted in 2004, Howard said that he wanted to use his NBA career and Christian faith to raise the name of God within the league and throughout the world. In November 2009, he was named one of the 10 finalists for the Jefferson Awards for Public Service, which awards athletes for their charitable work.
Howard is considered the franchise player of the Magic. He is the NBA's leading rebounder (also leading the league in 200708 and 200809); to illustrate, in a game against the Golden State Warriors on January 10, 2007, his 25 rebounds for the Magic outnumbered the total number of boards grabbed by the starting five of the Warriors. Howard's rebounding is in part facilitated by his extraordinary athleticism; his vertical leap is estimated at almost 40 inches, rare for a player of his size (6'11, 265 pounds). He demonstrated this skill memorably in the 2007 Slam Dunk Contest during the NBA All-Star Weekend, during which he completed an alley oop dunk from teammate Jameer Nelson and slapped a sticker onto the backboard which reached 12 ft 6 in (3.81 m). The sticker showed an image of his own smiling face with a handwritten All things through Christ Phil: 4:13, a paraphrase of Philippians 4:13. As of April 2011, Howard's career average of 12.9 rebounds per game (in the regular season) ranks 12th in NBA history. The center has also remained largely injury-free in his NBA career, playing in 351 consecutive games before missing his first game.
Howard's abilities and powerful physique have drawn attention from fellow NBA All-Stars. Tim Duncan once remarked in 2007: [Howard] is so developed... He has so much promise and I am glad that I will be out of the league when he is peaking. Kevin Garnett echoed those sentiments: [Howard] is a freak of nature, man... I was nowhere near that physically talented. I wasn't that gifted, as far as body and physical presence. Subsequent to a game in the 2009 NBA Playoffs, Philadelphia 76ers swingman Andre Iguodala said: It's like he can guard two guys at once. He can guard his guy and the guy coming off the pick-and-roll, which is almost impossible to do... If he gets any more athletic or jumps any higher, they're going to have to change the rules. As early as December 2007, ESPN writer David Thorpe declared Howard to be the most dominant center in the NBA.
While many sports pundits have been rating Howard as one of the top young prospects in the NBA since 2006, Howard has some weaknesses in his game. Offensively, his shooting range remains limited; he is also mistake-prone, having led the NBA in total number of turnovers in the 200607 season. Like many centers, he has a low free throw conversion percentage. As a result, he is often a target of the Hack-a-Shaq defense and is annually among the league leaders in free throw attempts. During the 200708 regular season, Howard led the NBA with 897 free throw attempts while shooting only 59% from the free throw line. Also in that season, outside of layups and dunks, his shooting percentage was only 31.6%. In the 200809 season, he led the NBA again with 849 free throw attempts and in 200910, he was second in the NBA with 816.
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