It’s no secret that Dwight Howard isn’t very well-liked. In fact, he may be the most disliked NBA superstar in the history of the league.
I don’t have any stats on this: Basketball Reference doesn’t have any numbers and five thirty eight hasn’t delved deep into the hate for Dwight Howard. But from NBA nice guys to assholes, opponents to teammates, current stars to yesterday’s legends, the dislike and for Howard is all over the board.
From Shaq to KG, Hakeem to Kareem, Orlando Magic to the Lakers, Howard is universally panned.
Let’s start out with the usually un-emotive Tim Duncan who openly laughs in Howard’s face as he complains (again) about a call.
And then another NBA nice guy, Kevin Durant was bothered enough to call Dwight a pussy… over and over again… from the bench.
Speaking of quiet NBA stars calling Dwight Howard a pussy, I give you LaMarcus Aldridge.
Gary Payton doesn’t disagree as he weighs in on why so many players hate Howard:
“I think he’s disliked by a lot of players now. They’re starting to dislike him a lot. Because what Dwight does is, you know, you see all the smiles and all the antics. That is getting on people’s nerves. That’s getting on players’ nerves. And then when he does things, he’s always at people, at people. To get this guy right here, Kevin Durant, to do what he did, you know it’s starting to become a problem with basketball players. ‘Cause Kevin Durant doesn’t really, really talk to anybody.
“(Howard) goes at people that are fake with stuff,” Payton continued. “Only fake guys. Fake guys, to me, are when they’re always woofing, woofing, woofing, and don’t really, really do nothing. It’s a woof player. If you see ’em in the streets, they ain’t going to do nothing. I’m going to tell you right like that.”
I’m not saying Kobe Bryant is real, but he clearly thinks Howard lacks real courage and strength in calling him both a “soft motherfucker” and a “bitch ass nigga”
Matt Barnes has probably called half the league a “bitch”, still:
And Kevin Garnett probably has headbutted dozens of players…
but KG has a special place for Dwight Howard; in addition to telling Howard he hates him via osmosis, he’s also called him out for being a “clown” repeatedly on the court…. and just in case you need confirmation, Brian Scalabrine told the media that Garnett has hated Howard for years.
And so did Austin Rivers… check out this tweet from 4 years ago:
It’s not uncommon for teammates to yell at one another, but you must be a total ass when you’re getting yelled at by Steve Nash during a game. After Howard left the Lakers, Nash called the season a “disaster”.
Since we’re talking about teammates, Howard made some disparaging comments about his former Orlando teammates that made it to the NBA Finals. To which Jameer Nelson, J.J. Redick, and Rashard Lewis publicly took offense to.
“I’m not surprised by (Howard’s comments)” said Redick “I would be more surprised when Dwight starts taking responsibility.
Legendary Centers for Magic, Lakers, and Rockets Sound Off
Shaquille O’Neal has some experience leading Orlando team to the NBA Finals early in his career. Shaq has also been one of the most outspoken critics of Howard, calling him out multiple times over Dwight’s career.
Here’s Shaq on Howard’s lack of intensity:
“He’s too nice. I’m a connoisseur of giggling and playing and all that and making you laugh and playing with the fans, but when I cross that line, I’m ready to tear your face off. I don’t care who it is. You could put one of my aunts or uncles out there, and I’m going to give him these elbows in their chest and I’m going to throw it down in their face. That’s what you have to do. … He’s just too nice. If I was him, I would get into the same mood I was in.”
Shaq on Howard leaving the Los Angeles Lakers for Houston after just one season:
“It was expected. We’ve all been in L.A., and not a whole lot of people can handle being under the bright lights. Everybody wants to do it, but when you get there, there are certain pressures. I think it was a safe move for him to go to a little town like Houston. That’s right, little town. I said it.”
Fellow Houston center Hakeem Olajuwon worked with Howard on some post moves when he came to Houston and had this to say about the smiling big man:
“I wish he was doing a better job. Dwight has always been athletic and aggressive and he still is. But when I watch him, what I see are opportunities that he is missing. When he gets the ball, he seems to be taking his time to decide what move to make, where he should go.”
The Dream went on to critique Howard’s inability/stubborness to apply what he’s learned to game situations:
“I thought we were doing a good job with this when we were working together over the summer and at the start of training camp. But what I see now is that when Dwight gets in competition, he has a tendency to go back to all of his old habits.”
That brings into question if Howard actually wants to get better, or is he just going through the motions? Kareem Abdul-Jabbar doesn’t suffer fools as easily (or nicely) as Hakeem:
“(Howard is) charming, he’s charismatic, very nice young man. Maturity-wise, he doesn’t get it.”
When Jabbar was asked if Howard added a sky hook to his game:
“At least he’d have an offensive move. He gets the ball on offense, oh my God, he doesn’t know what to do. It’s usually a turnover, people come and take the ball from him or tie his arms up. Offensively, he doesn’t get it. Hasn’t made any progress. We (the Lakers, when Abdul-Jabbar was a special assistant coach) played them in ’09, and when I saw him this past season, he was the same player.”
So Howard doesn’t really work on his game to get better. He’s known to throw his teammates under the bus. He complains, is considered soft and fake. He misses half his free throws, racks up stupid fouls and is consistently a leader… in technical fouls.
All this and he smiles through it. Is there anything that’s actually likable about Dwight Howard?