Dwight Howard gave an interview to Alex Kennedy of Hoopsworld after making his decision to play for the Houston Rockets, and as one would expect, it's an interesting insight into what went on in the mind of a man whose whims and caprices were the talk of the basketball world over the last week.
Howard discussed why he decided on Houston, but he made a lot of other intriguing comments as well. For starters, he said that when Mike Brown was fired, he made it clear to the Lakers that they should go with Phil Jackson, saying that he "asked to have him as my coach earlier in the year." Of course, Los Angeles opted to go with Mike D'Antoni, whose guard-based system apparently peeved Howard and may have been a factor in his decision to leave the Lakers for the Rockets.
Other noteworthy things:
- Dwight speaks in the third person a lot:
The best decision for me was to do what's best for Dwight. I think this is the best thing for me...This is what Dwight wanted.
- He seems like he really, really didn't enjoy the whole process he just went through:
I'm sick and tired of all the sources. I'm sick of people coming up with stories. I mean, it's just a blessing for me. I had the opportunity to go through all of this - go through this process - but it's been tough. Seeing all of the stuff on the internet. Seeing stuff that the reporters are saying when it's nowhere near true and not who I am as a person. I was perceived as someone who I'm not. It hurt a lot. It really hurt a lot.
I doubt Howard is lying, but it should be pointed out that the way he handled the entire process -- being relatively secretive, taking a relatively long time to come up with a decision, and not telling anybody for slightly too long after that decision was made -- bred the unenjoyable culture, as Brian Floyd wrote last night.
- The Rockets did not talk to Howard about potentially acquiring Josh Smith.
- Howard took notes in all of his meetings:
And it's not like I came in thinking that the Rockets would be the team and didn't pay attention in the other meetings or anything like that. I really listened. I took notes. I asked questions.
- Leaving Los Angeles was maybe kinda just a little bit difficult for him:
Very tough. Very, very, very tough. Very, very tough.
He discusses the money and the fanbase, but drew a parallel to his decision to stay in Orlando past when he enjoyed playing there, and said he wasn't going to repeat the past.
- He went to Colorado because he likes "mountains, trees and nature," and spent time playing chess and ping-pong. This is probably the thing that makes the most sense of anything we've heard about Dwight Howard in the past few days and weeks.
- And most importantly, Howard discusses his decision, in depth.
I felt that James and I would really have an opportunity to grow together. I felt like having a coach like Kevin McHale and having Hakeem Olajuwon, who's in Houston, can really help me grow as a player - help me as a post player and help my overall game. It was very appealing. I felt like this was a great opportunity for me to start fresh.
After all the hub-bub and commotion of Dwightmare II, he's a Rocket. For a player who admits to being vulnerable to criticism, it sounds like putting this troubling decision in the past could be just what he needs.