Dwight Howard Says He Wanted to Be PG Like Magic, Discusses Shaq's Influence

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistMay 13, 2020

Los Angeles Lakers center Dwight Howard dribbles during the first half of a preseason NBA basketball game against the Golden State Warriors Monday, Oct. 14, 2019, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press

Dwight Howard has been one of the best big men in basketball over his career, but he originally wanted to be a point guard. 

In an Instagram Live session with Los Angeles Lakers teammate Jared Dudley, Howard discussed his influences early in his basketball career (27:00):

"Well, I didn't want to be a center, playing basketball. My favorite player growing up was Magic Johnson. And I played point guard all the way up until I got to high school. So my favorite player was was Magic Johnson. I wanted to be a 6'9" point guard. And then once I got a little bit older, my favorite player was Wilt Chamberlain. I just thought like being like Magic Johnson was the way to go."

Howard, who is now 6'10" and 265 pounds, eventually changed his mind when he saw what Shaquille O'Neal could do in the post:

"I didn't know who Shaq was until, I would say, my junior year in high school, I saw the Lakers play against Philly in the [2001] Finals, and I was like, man, this dude is elbowin', like, he's killing Dikembe [Mutombo]. I was like, this is what I've got to be playing against when I get to the league? I've got to get my weight up. That's what I was thinking."

The center noted by the time he entered the NBA in 2004, he especially looked up to Shaq, Kevin Garnett and Tim Duncan. He even tried to hit a bank shot against Duncan the first time they played, but he hit the top of the backboard instead.

Considering Howard became an eight-time All-Star and three-time Defensive Player of the Year at center, his move to the low post seems like it was a good one.