Dwight Howard apparently needed some help catching the basketball Saturday.
The Houston Rockets center applied stickum spray to his hands in the first quarter of a 109-97 loss to the Atlanta Hawks, per Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Howard checked back into the game while Hawks forward Paul Millsap was at the free-throw line. After Millsap made a free throw, Howard grabbed the ball. Once Millsap was given the ball back for his second attempt, he noticed a substance on it, per Vivlamore.
The referees assessed no penalty to the Rockets for the incident.
"I don’t know why people are making a big deal out of it," Howard said after the game, per Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle. "I do it every game. It’s not a big deal. I ain’t tripping.”
Vivlamore also pointed out that not only was Howard at fault, but Rockets interim head coach J.B. Bickerstaff also seemed to know what was going on:
Official Monty McCutchen grabbed the ball and went to each bench to issue a warning, saying "Stickum is illegal in the NBA." After first going to the Hawks bench he made his way toward the Rockets bench. Rockets coach J.B. Bickerstaff slid in front of the can, still at the scorer’s table. McCutchen noted he knew what Bickerstaff was hiding.
When thinking of stickum, basketball isn't the first sport that comes to mind. NFL wide receivers and tight ends have mainly used it. In fact, Hall of Fame wide receiver Jerry Rice said all players used it to gain an upper hand on the field, per ESPN.com (via Jared Dubin of CBSSports.com).
Tom Haberstroh of ESPN.com seemed to think that way when he reacted to Vivlamore's report:
Coincidentally, Jason Patt of Today's Fastbreak thought Howard could have used some stickum over a year ago:
Somebody get Dwight Howard some stickum— Jason Patt (@Bulls_Jay) January 22, 2015
It's unclear whether the league will impose a penalty on the Rockets. Either way, this incident certainly will be filed under the "you don't see that every day" category.
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