Dwight Howard Reportedly Wants to Play in 2016 Olympic Games

Alex Kay@AlexPKayCorrespondent IMarch 1, 2013

Dwight Howard missed the chance to capture a second gold medal during the 2012 London Olympics, but isn’t going to let another opportunity escape him at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games.

According to Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News, the Los Angeles Lakers big man responded “no doubt” when asked if he would be interested in participating with Team USA in the next Summer Games.

D12 would have likely joined up with superstars LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul, Kevin Durant and current teammate Kobe Bryant last year, but missed the opportunity due to season-ending back surgery.

The star center seemed regretful his injury kept him from representing his country, telling Medina, "I was (upset) mad I couldn't play in the playoffs and mad I couldn't play in the Olympics. I wasn't too happy with the fact I had to have surgery and miss a lot of basketball."

Howard began playing with Team USA all the way back in 2006, when he became the starting pivot for a team that failed to live up to the Americans' lofty expectations and earned a meager bronze medal at the 2006 FIBA World Championships.

He made up for those shortcomings by anchoring the middle for the squad in the 2008 Beijing Olympics, helping the “Redeem Team” navigate its way to a gold medal, Howard's first and only gold in a worldwide competition.

Howard would be a major asset for Team USA, as Spain and its huge front line of Marc Gasol, Pau Gasol and Serge Ibaka figure to return to the gold-medal game to challenge the Americans for a third straight Olympiad.

2012 starting center Tyson Chandler will be getting up in age by 2016, and Kevin Love may not even make the team again at his current pace.

Those were the only two notable big men on the roster, as rookie Anthony Davis saw sparse minutes and Blake Griffin was forced to bow out due to injury.

Coach Mike Krzyzewski persevered by favoring a small lineup, but it would be perfect to have an athletic, shot-blocking 5 to man the middle for Team USA. Dwight Howard is the ideal solution and hopefully will represent his country in 2016.