Dwight Howard’s Press Conference Highlights


I was able to attend Dwight Howard’s Press Conference today and see him receive the NBA’s Defensive Player Of The Year award. Here are a few of the highlights from Tuesday’s presser.

Otis Smith’s opening comments:

"“It’s not often a general manager gets to do this back-to-back, get to give out an award or talk about an award for a player of Dwight’s stature for Defensive Player Of The Year. It doesn’t happen in most General Manger’s lifetime and for it to happen is just short of amazing. He promised me more than this Defensive Player Of The Year award. We like other trophies, namely gold ones. He’s promised in the not-so-distant future that that will happen here in Orlando. And he’s pretty much set the table for that. I’m as proud of him as a young man as anybody else who’s accomplished anything else in this organization or any others.”"

Dwight Howard’s opening comments:

"“First of all,  thank God for just allowing me to finish the season on a healthy note. Playing 82 games in the NBA season is very tough, it’s demanding, physically, mentally and spiritually. Being able to play in 82 games is only because of him so I want to thank him first. Then, thank my teammates. They do a great job of sending their man down the lane so I get a chance to block their shots. I’d like to thank all my teammates for sort of, kind of playing defense. I really want to thank Patrick (Ewing), Dikembe (Mutombo), and Tony Battie. Those guys have always been in my head to do more and be more as a leader and a player and I really appreciate those guys for always staying in my ear, telling me to go the extra mile to be the best player I can, especially on the defensive end, because we all understand as players, defense wins games. And also Otis for just helping me throughout the season. Like, I said the physical grind, very demanding. From a mental aspect Otis has really helped me out, just making sure I stay mentally focused and be there every night for my teammates. This award is not really for me but it’s for everybody who’s helped me get to this level that I’m at. So I’d like to thank everybody just for pushing me to go that extra mile, get that extra block, get that extra rebound or one stop that can get us a win.”"

Howard talked about when he changed has attitude in order to become a defensive force.

"“A couple years ago, me and Patrick (Ewing) sat down after the season and we kind of went over what he thought I did right and what I need to work on. And one thing he said to me was, “Dwight, there’s no way with you being able to jump and move and be as quick as you are on the defensive end that you shouldn’t lead the league in blocks and become the defensive player of the year.” He said he was upset that I didn’t have that award. He said I need to do a better job to get that award. He said,  “If you play defense and lead our team on the defensive end, we’ll have a chance to win a championship.” And I came back last year with a better focus.”"

By clicking the link below, you can read more about Howard’s press conference.

Presser Notes From the Question and Answer Session:

  • Howard said that he was worried about getting dunked on being a shot-blocker, but he’s learned it’s going to happen.
  • Howard said Mutombo and Ewing weren’t afraid to get dunked on. “Especially Pat,” Howard added.
  • Otis Smith held up 10 fingers when asked how many of these awards Howard should win and followed up by saying he didn’t have enough hands to show the real number.
  • Smith said Dwight “accepting the challenge” of being the best defensive player and leading his team on both ends of the floor is the biggest growth he’s seen in Howard.
  • Howard thinks he has improved his pick-and-roll defense because he’s able to read the guards better by learning their tendencies. He watched tape and focused on that area last summer.
  • Howard said defense is all about “will” and “how bad you want it.”
  • When asked about Gerald Wallace talking about taking it to him, Howard said that’s what Wallace should say and what he should try to do, but when he gets into the lane, “#12 is going to be there.”
  • Both Howard and Smith agreed that Howard cared most about scoring, dunking and being on SportsCenter, when he was first drafted but soon understood the importance of defense.
  • Smith referred to Howard as the “anchor” of Orlando’s defense.
  • Smith thinks that with Howard scoring inside and Orlando’s three-point shooting, their defense is overlooked.
  • Howard said that he’s never watched Patrick Ewing and has only seen Dikembe Mutombo a couple of times. This prompted Otis Smith to cover his face, laugh, shush Howard and and say that they were getting him film right away.
  • Howard also admires Alonzo Mourning’s defense.
  • Howard said that he read Bill Russell’s book, Russell Rules in high school and recently got film on Wilt Chamberlain.
  • “I’m not big on individual awards, I want that trophy,” Howard told reporters.
  • Howard would not say that defense should count more for the MVP trophy when asked the question, but did say that “defense wins championships.”
  • Kia, the award’s sponsor, gave Howard a 2011 Sorento CUV, which was then donated to the Nap Ford Community School in Parramore.

(Andrew Melnick is Howard the Dunk’s lead blogger and a contributor on the Fansided Front Page and at Sir Charles In Charge. Subscribe to his RSS feed, add him on Twitter to follow him daily and you can get the HTD app here).