Dwight Howard’s exclusion from the NBA’s 75 greatest players list in honor of the league’s 75th anniversary was a controversial one and, likely, an incorrect call. Howard, though, really wants everyone to know, though, that he is not mad, just laughing about it.
For at least the fourth time since the announcement of the team, Howard talked about how mad he definitely isn’t at being left out, this time with Fred Katz of The Athletic. Separate from the NBA’s list, The Athletic is not only publishing individual articles for each person voted onto their top 75 list, they’re ranking the players as well.
All of that served as plenty of reason for Howard — ranked No. 56 by The Athletic — to voice his thoughts on the NBA’s official list.
“I can’t go back and do anything right now,” Howard said in a recent conversation with The Athletic. “But at the time, I was kinda bitter to hear that I wasn’t on that list.”
But Howard is on ours. He clocks in at No. 56 on The Athletic’s Top 75.
He calls his exclusion from the league’s list “very disrespectful” and comes armed with reasons why.
“You hear people say, ‘He was only dominant for a couple of years.’ I didn’t know eight years of being an All-Star, being dominant for eight years, was a couple of years,” he said. “I didn’t know winning three Defensive Player of the Year awards in a row, and it should’ve been four, is something that is considered not good.
“There’s guys who don’t have those many accolades. I’m the (youngest) player that’s (reached) 1,000, 2,000, 3,000 all the way up to 9,000 rebounds. That doesn’t add up. So, where is the miscommunication? Where is the lie with my stats?”
All of the statistical arguments Howard makes have plenty of validity and it’s near impossible to argue against them. The main reason for Howard’s exclusion is the bridges he’s burned throughout his career and his attitude that can grin on people and come off wrong at times, even with the Lakers.
But it’s the fact that he’s complaining about this yet again that serves as an example of his demeanor and why voters left him off. In the immediate aftermath of missing out, Howard called it “disrespectful” on social media to be left out. At the time, he had the backing of many, many fans.
He then gave an interview to Bleacer Report where he said he wasn’t bitter about being left off the list but still gave lots of reasons why he may be bitter, theoretically. And then he talked to Tyler Tynes of GQ to discuss a variety of things, including not making the list.
Howard clearly does feel snubbed and perhaps rightfully so, but maybe a couple of interviews ago was the time to draw the line on discussing it, and definitely multiple interviews ago was the time to change the narrative of “not really upset about it.” But Howard has never been one to have an abundance of self-awareness, which has been both part of his charm through the years and, more relevantly, part of what has made him a person hard to get along with.
For more Lakers talk, subscribe to the Silver Screen and Roll podcast feed on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher or Google Podcasts. You can follow Jacob on Twitter at @JacobRude.