Dwight Howard and his Rockets got bounced by the Golden State Warriors a few weeks ago, and since then, he’s been quiet about whether or not he’ll opt out of his contract and leave to test free agency. He’s been linked to four teams, but after the ignominious way his team appeared to quit in the playoffs, his reputation as a player who’s bad for team chemistry may actively harm his prospects of netting a max contract this summer.
Howard went on Inside The NBA this evening to fill in for Shaq, who was working the Sports Emmys. Charles Barkley wasted no time, immediately grilling Howard (who rocked a Superman pin) as to why people don’t like him and how frustrating it was to play with a ball stopper like James Harden. Howard was open about how being the villain hurts him, and he came close to calling out Harden for not getting him involved enough in the offense. I particularly enjoyed him pointing out the contradiction between people calling him soft for smiling too much then calling him disinterested when he stopped smiling. Here’s the best four-minute chunk.
Chandler Parsons looks like he was struck by Howard’s answers.
Anyway, Howard is soon going to have to convince a team that he cares about winning and would be beneficial to their chemistry, which will be a tricky sell given Houston’s ugly season, but going on national TV and openly discussing his flaws and desires is a good start towards rebuilding his image.