Dwight Howard Reportedly Returning to USA Basketball After 6-Year Absence

Matt FitzgeraldCorrespondent IIIJanuary 22, 2014

HOUSTON, TX - DECEMBER 26:  Dwight Howard #12 of the Houston Rockets reacts to a play against the Memphis Grizzlies on December 26, 2013 at the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2013 NBAE (Photo by Bill Baptist/NBAE via Getty Images)
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Dwight Howard has never been shy about carving his own path and legacy, as evidenced by his membership to three different NBA teams in as many recent seasons.   

One commitment the current Houston Rockets superstar center hasn't made in six years is to USA Basketball, but the 28-year-old big man is reportedly keen on returning for the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup, formerly known as the FIBA World Championship.

Yahoo! Sports insider Adrian Wojnarowski reported the news on Wednesday, Jan. 22, citing sources with knowledge of the situation:

Howard was last seen as a member of the USA's 2008 Summer Olympics squad in Beijing that went undefeated en route to a gold medal.

Now, the seven-time All-Star reportedly has his sights set on being an Olympian yet again in 2016. He will start his quest to make the squad by throwing his name in the pool of players eligible to participate in the aforementioned World Cup.

As a three-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year, Howard would bring a unique presence to the USA team with his combination of size, strength and athleticism. That skill set is one few international foes could match up against.

Given the way Howard's game has developed since the last time he played in a worldwide competition, he could be a huge difference-maker for Team USA.

Some believe he has not fully realized his seemingly limitless potential, however:

According to Wojnarowski's report, the frontcourt rotation for the Americans at the World Cup will likely consist of Portland Trail Blazers star LaMarcus Aldridge, versatile Minnesota Timberwolves forward Kevin Love and lethal Oklahoma City Thunder scorer Kevin Durant.

USA Basketball will announce the full roster of eligible players on Thursday morning.

Given that Howard has been away from his prospective USA Basketball teammates for so long, how he affects the team's chemistry will go a long way in determining whether he's a proper fit.   

Spain plays host to the World Cup this summer, an event typically held once every four years. The United States won the gold medal in 2010, beating host Turkey 81-64 in the final.