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Dwight Howard and Andrew Bynum: A New Legacy of NBA Centers

Frances White@WestEndGirl62Analyst IIMay 29, 2009

LOS ANGELES - JANUARY 16:  Andrew Bynum #17 of the Los Angeles Lakers and Dwight Howard #12 of the Orlando Magic look on during a break in their NBA game on January 16, 2009 at Staples Center in Los Angeles, California. The Magic won 109-103.   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. (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

It's true we are "Witness" to the only prep-to-pros prospect to live up to the billing in LeBron James.

It's true the average fan would love to see a Kobe-LeBron match-up—heck, I even started my article talking about them and I am not a casual fan. 

The possibility of Howard and Bynum meeting in the NBA Finals is one I would love to see though. 

They will not invoke memories of Wilt Chamberlain vs. Bill Russell or of Jabbar vs. Parish. It is too soon to tell; they have not met when it has counted yet.

I doubt Kareem and Robert ever broke bread together because the hatred ran deep.  Even to this day, old-school Lakers and Celtics do not do business together. Bird and Magic are the closest to being friends, but we are talking centers here.

Why do you think McHale would not trade KG to L.A. even if they included Bynum? Kupchak wouldn't even dare try to make any trade of significance with Bird.

Could Bynum and Howard be like Wilt and Russell? Do they ever go out to dinner together during the season? Do they Twitter each other?  Come on, inquiring minds want to know.

They are both amiable enough—they don't have the trademark stoicism of their conference predecessors.

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Bynum has the pedigree of franchise centers to build on and in an off-handed way, so does Howard.

Bynum has Mikan, Kareem, and Shaq—a bloodline of championship centers. 

Howard's claim is that Shaq used to don the blue and white of the Magic—an indirect link to Bynum's legacy.  Shaq and Howard both have the same alter ego, Superman.

Bynum is more polished offensively and shoots a better free-throw percentage.  Howard is pure undulated raw power with speed and quickness. His offense is still a work in progress.

They can thank Spencer Haywood for paving the way to their early entry, a move that was considered illegal and controversial in the 1970's NBA.

The NBA has never had its marketing geared toward a big man; why would they?

An NBA center's game was not considered charismatic or stylish enough not until Shaq anyway. 

Shaq never had an opponent his age when he was at the top of his game.  Howard and Bynum have each other. 

Bynum is Howard's Felix Unger as Howard is Bynum's Oscar Madison. 

On off days, one plays in the Magic kingdom, the other at Hugh Heffner's Playboy Mansion.

One already an Olympic champion and an NBA All Star the other because of injury is still finding his way; two gentle giants whose games will reverberate and possibly redefine the game and show us what it means to be a dominant big man with a worthy opponent.

Two of the top five centers for the next decade in the NBA are possibly one game away from playing for an NBA Championship.

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