Dwight Howard has made a name for himself by being a lovably goofy giant, smiling any chance he gets and breaking in to his Charles Barkley impersonation anytime someone requests to see it. Six seasons in to his career, Dwight is one of the most recognizable and famous players in the NBA. He’s got commercials. He’s got a shoe deal. He’s even got a kid’s CD. And it’s all because he’s a big-time jokester.
But, apparently, the Dwight we’ve come to know and love is gone, never to be seen again. Gone are the halfcourt shots and Superman capes. Gone are the dunk contests, smiles and dance moves. There’s a new Dwight in Orlando, and he sounds a lot less fun.
The constant jokes and overall silliness Howard used to display have vanished publicly. Howard’s pregame dance routines are gone. No more humming songs at the free-throw line. No more trick shots in the layup line. No more comedic impressions during practice.
“There’s no question he’s changed. He hasn’t broken from that (serious attitude) for one minute,” Van Gundy said. “He’ll talk a little in stretching, which is fine. But when we’re working, he hasn’t broken once where he’s goofing around.
“The one thing is when you are lighthearted all of the time and tend to goof around a lot it’s hard to have that credibility,” Van Gundy continued. “It has to be more of a habit and this year you could see it. I don’t think there’s anybody who has played with him before who doesn’t see a huge difference in his approach.”
Oh, bummer. Say what you want about Dwight Howard’s ability to carry a team, choose a proper wardrobe or improve his game, but you have to admit that having a fun-loving superstar is pretty chill. Dwight’s always a good interview and it’s just kind of nice to see a guy who seems to be enjoying basketball all the time.
But, I guess, there’s a time to get serious, which is obviously this season. If the Magic are going anywhere it’s because of Dwight Howard, and if him not joking around is going to help the team then straight-face it up. But with Gilbert Arenas’ no-smile approach and Dwight getting resolute we’re running out of on-court fun guys.
At least we’ll always have Brook Lopez, who can make even the most normal interaction in to an outtake from “Grandma’s Boy.”