Most NBA fans realize that Philadelphia 76ers center Dwight Howard’s best playing days are behind him. Few outside of LeBron James can reasonably claim to still be an elite player in the league once they reach their mid-30s, so Howard has little to be ashamed of – he turned 35 last December.
NBA followers should also remember that, despite his laundry list of squads prior to coming to the Sixers this past offseason, Howard was originally drafted first overall by the Orlando Magic in 2004 and spent eight ultra-successful seasons there. While calling the Sunshine State home, the eight-time All-Star apparently met one of his future Sixers teammates.
Dwight Howard said Paul Reed went to his basketball camp as a kid when Dwight was playing in Orlando: "I feel ancient."
— Rich Hofmann (@rich_hofmann) March 29, 2021
Paul Reed was selected by Philadelphia as the 28th pick of the second round (58th overall) in the 2020 draft, signed a two-way contract with the team in November, and recently inked a standard NBA contract. Reed joins the Sixers after earning both MVP and Rookie of the Year honors with the team’s G League affiliate, the Delaware Blue Coats.
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Because Howard played in Orlando from 2004 through 2012, he could have had Reed attend his camp anywhere from the time the now-21-year-old was five to 13 years old.
Howard Claims Rookie Wanted Bizarre Nickname at Basketball Camp
Reed, who was born in Orlando and went to Wekiva High School in Apopka, Florida, evidently had loads of confidence in his basketball abilities even at a young age. Howard has long been one of the NBA’s highest-flying dunkers, and said that a young Reed made a special request when meeting “Superman”.
.@DwightHoward on @Bball_paul: "The first day he came in training camp and the first thing he said was 'Call me alley. Throw me alley-oops.' And I'm like, 'Who in their right comes in and says call me alley?' You at least say your first and last name and where you are from."
— Keith Pompey (@PompeyOnSixers) March 29, 2021
Howard himself has appeared in the NBA’s Slam Dunk Contest four times, winning the crown in 2008. He competed in the event in 2007, 2008, and 2009, before an 11-year hiatus ended last year.
Time will tell if Reed is selected to take part in any dunk contests and if he can match Howard’s crown from 13 years ago.
Reed Shares Slightly Different Version of Howard’s Story
While Reed admitted to some recollection of the encounter with his future teammate and said that alley-oops were certainly discussed, he had a different account of the tale.
Lol they misunderstood me I said yall can throw me alleys 😂😂😂 but I just let them call me alley https://t.co/S3cfsAocBn
— Paul Reed (@Bball_paul) March 29, 2021
Reed has played in nine NBA games thus far, including the past two Sixers contests and three of their last five. With the group still shorthanded, especially in the frontcourt, the 6-foot-9-inch Reed could very well continue to get playing time.