By all outward appearances, it’s an apt inference. All that joking and smiling, the prankster’s nonchalance—it’s unbecoming of a professional athlete paid to play hard and, above all, try.
But during the latest episode of his eponymous online show, Howard lent a bit of insight into what makes him such a polarizing character: He wasn’t supposed to be here. Slip to the 1:25 mark to hear exactly why.
That’s pretty heavy.
Not many people can claim to have experienced what Sheryl Howard, Dwight’s mother, went through for all those years.
But if Dwight wants to cite that as the root of his role as the NBA’s preeminent court jester, well, he’s absolutely allowed to.
Even during his tumultuous stint with the Los Angeles Lakers last year, Howard’s devil-may-care aura became an infectious part of an otherwise languid locker room environment—at least for a while.
Long after the game ended, Howard spoke with a handful of media members about a number of topics. He guessed various reporters' ages and even compared one to the 38-year-old Steve Nash. Howard guessed which reporters were single or married judging by the size of their waistlines. Howard peppered them with questions about movies, including basketball flicks, Team America and the James Bond films. Howard also detailed his love for dodgeball.
In the end, the act grew thin in an organization incapable of squaring its winning ways with Dwight’s infectious—and intermittently exhausting—persona.
Thankfully, Dwight has found with the Houston Rockets an opportunity to both be a part of a winning basketball culture and remain far enough from the maddening media crowd to truly be himself.
And you know what? The NBA is better for it.