One of the more stunning storylines surrounding the Los Angeles Lakers this season has been the rebirth of Dwight Howard, who is not only making an impact with his play, but also his positive point of view.
Howard has flipped a lot of fans who soured on him after his turbulent first stint in Los Angeles. He’s averaging 6.9 points, 7.5 rebounds and 1.6 blocks off the bench, and can constantly be found with a smile on his face.
A Lakers fan that has been extremely impressed with Howard is Flea, a founding member and the bassist of the Red Hot Chili Peppers. He put out an Instagram post expressing his gratitude for Howard and apologizing for booing him previously.
Dear Dwight Howard. I humbly apologize for heckling you when you came back to Staples as a Rocket for the first time. I supported you with all I had during your first Laker stint, and was so sad that you left. That exchange was actually a learning moment for me. Caught up in the moment with the rest of the obnoxious hecklers I yelled, “DWIGHT YOU STINK!” You turned around, looked at me and politely said “Thank you.” I always kinda thought heckling was part of the crazy fun of attending a game, part of helping my Lakers to win, but that was a wake up. I’m so grateful to have you playing with all the heart and positivity you bring to the Lakers right now, it is inspiring, and a phenomenal new chapter in your career to witness. I’ve been a Laker fan since I was a little boy and now I’m an old ass man and still cheering like a little kid.
Dwight Howard Responds to Post With More Positivity
Howard quickly shot back an response for Flea.
“I appreciate you,” Howard wrote. “Gonna continue to give 200% everyday for the most high. This city and the organization.”
Howard’s social media is loaded with posts showing support for his teammates. One in particular was to lift up Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, who was the target of early criticism for his play. After he delivered a big game and clutch shots, Howard gave him a shout out.
“Keep flying [Kentavious Caldwell-Pope],” Howard wrote. “We all believe in you. Great game my g.”
He did the same when LeBron James became the first player to record triple-doubles against every NBA team.
“Greatness. Congrats my g. We all possess greatness it may jus take the right example to be the catalyst,” Howard wrote. “Let’s all strive to be the best version of our self. Keep inspiring.”
Lakers Stars Stress Importance of Dwight Howard
The Lakers have the league’s best record at 13-2 and have done so by being an elite defensive team this season, allowing just 102 points per game (fourth in the NBA).
Howard has been a big part of that formula and Lakers star Anthony Davis gave him some big props for what he does for the team in an interview with Bill DiFilippo of Uproxx.
He just wants to win. Obviously he was here before, it didn’t go so well for him, and he just wanted to come back and win. He felt like this was the best place for him to win and he wants to do whatever it takes to win, whether it’s playing five minutes, playing 30 minutes, not playing at all. He has that mindset, a winner’s mentality, so we wanted to take that chance on him and he’s been wonderful for us this year, playing big minutes, making big plays. We’re all happy we were able to get him in.
Defensively, it allows not just myself, but everyone to pressure the ball, get to the ball, and make guys uncomfortable knowing that we have Dwight in the back, ready to block shots, alter shots, and he’s a great rebounder, which helps us get out and run in transition. All of us are very happy that we have a guy like that, because it gives us another defensive look. Then, we can also go small where I’m at the five as well and other guys are able to do the same thing while I take the Dwight role.
Offensively, he’s a load in the post. He’s rolling to the rim and he’s got three or four guys around him, which leads to open shots for everyone else, and he lets me just roam around the perimeter and get some easy jump shots or easy drives to the basket. Even when we’re driving, he’s a lob threat, being able to just drive and throw it up to the rim, he’ll go get it. He’s been great for us on both ends of the floor.
The Lakers are a 7.5-point favorite against the Grizzlies on Saturday with a total of 225 points. Memphis is 5-9 this season and have dropped their last two games by double-digits.