Howard's introduction wasn't without its moments.
It also came replete with talk of new beginnings, a theme Dwight's really emphasizing as he eyes the future (via The Associated Press):
It means a lot to me just to have a fresh start and have an opportunity to write my own story," Howard said. "I don't think people understood the fact that I got traded to L.A., and now I had a chance to really choose my own destiny, and this is the place where I chose and I'm happy about it.
The whole event started out with Bill Worrell introducing a bevy of Houston Rockets legends, including just about every big man who could call himself memorable.
Obviously that included guys like Hakeem Olajuwon and Elvin Hayes, but if you know your Rockets history, they also welcomed Ralph Sampson and Yao Ming—meaning, the phrase "cut short due to injury" was uttered twice too often for the introduction of a guy coming off a season in which he was plagued by back and shoulder troubles.
When Worrell finally brought out Howard, we were graced with what was quite possibly the quip of the summer: "He's not Superman anymore, he's Rocketman."
Announcer says Dwight "is not Superman, he's Rocketman." Ugh.— Arash Markazi (@ArashMarkazi) July 13, 2013
Thank you so much for that, Bill Worrell, and for the endless puns we can make for the remainder of the season.
Next came a beautiful preview video of the team—one that would usually be played before a game—only featuring a bit more of the Rockets' staff than usual.
It was perhaps the first time in sports history (outside of the Sloan Conference) that Daryl Morey's analytic style was made out to be cool, and it was definitely the first time his numbers were set to a beat.
As it continued on, the soon-to-be former starting five of the Rockets was displayed walking in front of a red and black Houston skyline, with Jeremy Lin and Omer Asik looking incredibly morose.
When Howard did finally get to the microphone following a delightfully forced and scripted introduction from Rockets owner Leslie Alexander, Howard got his quote machine working at a mile a minute.
So Chandler Parsons, Slim Thug and random vacationers in Aspen ultimately convinced D12 to pick Houston. Got it— Brendan Bowers (@BowersCLE) July 13, 2013
One point of contention was the notion that Howard was at times not serious on the court, as a reporter mentioned that he smiled a lot.
HOU owner Leslie Alexander:"Happiness is really part of it. If you can be a great player & you can't be happy, what difference does it make"— Marc J. Spears (@SpearsNBAYahoo) July 13, 2013
"I wouldn't want to be around somebody who's always frowning," said Howard. Hmm, could this have been directed at a certain somebody? This sounds like concrete evidence that Howard left the Lakers because Kobe Bryant was never smiling.
Of course, if he doesn't want to be around guys who are always frowning, he certainly made a bad choice picking a team coached by Kevin McHale rather than sticking with Mike D'Antoni, the king of sarcastic smiles.
Moving away from his desire to be happy, the press conference somehow approached the topic of actual basketball, as well as the notion of the Rockets winning a championship.
At that point Howard continued to talk about being happy and having fun, saying that he wouldn't be guaranteeing five championships (not one, not two, not three...).
Dwight refuses to guarantee a certain number of championships.— Michael Pina (@MichaelVPina) July 13, 2013
Then, perhaps another jab at the Lakers came along. "It takes a lot to win a championship," said Howard. "It doesn't just happen when guys come together."
What could he even be hinting at? Surely he just saw the Miami Heat win back-to-back championships, right? Is there some other monumental failure that I'm forgetting, or is this just a general quote from Howard?
At Dwight Howard presser. Rockets show video promising that "as older teams fail, the Rockets will rise. A new era has begun."— Rachel Nichols (@Rachel__Nichols) July 13, 2013
A few goofy moments here and there coupled with not-so-subtle jabs at the past from Howard completed a 30-minute introduction, and that was that.
Howard is officially the next great Rockets big man—well, for the next three years at least.