Just as with the discussion with former Laker Josh Powell, we were fortunate to land an exclusive interview with Dwight Howard for this week’s Triple Threat Podcast. My co-host (Jamieson Welsh), and guest-host (Jory Dreher) were each in agreement of the fact that our 40-plus minute discussion with Howard was the most candid, open, and honest conversation we’ve ever heard from a star of his nature.
Just as he does after blocking a shot on the court, Howard sings along to Ludacris’ ‘Move B-, Get Out The Way’ as the interview begins. Understandably a big music fan, Howard acknowledges that he listens to (rap artists) Future and Lil Wayne as a part of his pregame ritual.
Beyond the portions that will be covered in this article, Howard was willing to discuss a myriad of Laker-related topics including: Pau Gasol “looking good” in practice on Wednesday, Howard’s desire to conduct the biggest ‘Harlem Shake’ dance with all of Lakers Nation during a parade ceremony down Figueroa, and how watching movies and playing XBOX are his favorite pastimes when not working out, training or playing.
Triple Threat: We’ve heard all the stories, but we never hear from the man himself. Who is Dwight Howard?
Dwight Howard: I’m very goal-driven. I love to (set) high goals for myself, and push myself to reach those goals. I love having fun, love putting a smile on people’s faces. I’m just a fun person. I love life…I’m blessed to be here. My mom…she lost seven kids growing up. I was supposed to be the eighth. So, each day I’m alive, I’ve very thankful, because I could have been one of those kids.
Triple Threat: You mentioned Pau getting out there for practice, today. Going forward, what is the general feeling amongst the team?
Dwight Howard: We have one goal, one mission…and that’s to win a championship. We’re developing that chemistry. We know where guys are going to be. We’re also getting more confidence in each other. That’s going to be key to this run we’re trying to make. It’s confidence, and being comfortable with each other. We’ve been working extremely hard to get where we are today. A lot of us are a lot healthier than we were at the beginning of the season. I think we’re going to make a great run.
TT: We noticed from your Twitter account that you’ve recently been going through acupuncture sessions. In what ways has that been helping you?
DH: It’s really just taken a lot of stress off of my back and my body. It’s unbelievable. I started right after All-Star break, and I can tell the difference in my play from the first time he (acupuncturist) started until today. My movement, my reaction time, all that stuff. My back has felt a lot better (overall) since I started going, so I’m very happy about that.
TT: Following the surgery, and shoulder injury that followed, how have you had to alter your workout regiment and diet?
DH: As of right now, because of my back and my shoulder, there isn’t much I can actually do in (terms of lifting weights). I do a lot of ‘core’ work in order to keep my core strong. I do pushups and things like that, but because of my back and shoulder it’s just really hard for me to lift (weights) like I want to lift. I’m one of those guys that loves to get it in, in the gym…so since I can’t do some of those things, I’m just trying to make sure I eat the right things. I had to take out a lot of the sugar from my diet. Basically, it causes you to get tired a lot faster than you normally would. It’s not just candy, you know? When people think of sugar, they just think of candy, but fruit also has a lot of sugar in it. I was one of those guys that ate a lot of fruit. With the diet that I have now, I can only eat fruit at certain times of the day.
TT: We noticed you’ve recently been ending each practice with “1-2-3 championship!” Given everything you’ve endured as a team, all of the tumult, what would it actually mean to you to be able to hoist a Larry O’Brien trophy?
DH: It would be the best feeling in the world. We’ve been saying that (at the close of practice) all year. Every time I run after practice, or just shooting shots; ‘Championship, Championship’. That’s what I think about, and all of us have that goal. Just thinking about it now gives me chills., because I want it so bad. We all want it. We all have different ways of showing that we want it, but we all have one goal, which is to win a championship.
TT: A lot is made of playing for the Lakers, and without being disparaging toward any other team, is there is difference in playing for this organization?
DH: The Laker fabric is imprinted in every single fan here. It’s just strictly all about the Lakers. You see it every game, even on the road. every game is like a home game for us. It’s been a great feeling being a part of that. In my first year, it’s been a really great experience. Seeing how much fans adore this team…they bleed purple and gold. It’s just great to be a part of.
Howard mentions having worked out with Hakeem Olajuwon several times, and he still intends to continue working with him in the upcoming summers. When asked about his relationship with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, he doesn’t rule out working with Abdul-Jabbar at some point in the future. The two have been in communication at certain points since Howard made it to LA. When asked if opposing teams/coaches resort to fouling him harder than other players, Howard takes it with a grain of salt. “That’s been happening since I came into the league, so it’s no big deal. It’s expected.”