Dwight Howard's career has been a bit of a rollercoaster. Early on in his career, he was viewed as one of the best players at his position. He even led the Orlando Magic to the NBA finals back in 2009. Now he has become a role player and veteran leader.
This transition from franchise cornerstone to rotation player has not been easy for Howard. He had some bumps along the way. But over the past two years, Howard has changed the narrative of his career.
Since joining the Sixers, he has been a vocal veteran leader that the younger players can turn to and lean on. Howard has embraced his new role at this stage in his career, even maintaining his happy-go-lucky personality we saw in his early years.
While Howard understands what he brings to a team now, he admits the transition has not been easy. After Monday's win over the Thunder, he would open up on what it's been like.
"It's very difficult. But I understand that in order for me to continue to play in this league, I have to learn from those who came before me. There's a lot of guys who came before me who did not want to accept having to be in a position where you're not getting those shots, you're not getting those minutes, you're not getting the touches, and all the things you were accustomed to getting," Howard said.
Howard understands that his days at the top are gone. While he may not be a star player anymore, he knows he can still help teams win games. That is why his focus mentally has shifted from being a star player to being a star in his specific role.
This embracement of his role speaks volumes to the way Howard leads by example. Many of the younger players grew up watching him be the top center in the league. Now they see him openly take a smaller role for the greater success of the team.
Howard's view of himself at this point in his career is what has made him a great addition to the Sixers. He understands that above all else, winning is what's most important, and he will do as much or as little is asked of him to help be a part of it.
Kevin McCormick covers the Philadelphia 76ers for South Jersey's 97.3 ESPN and Sports Illustrated. You can follow him on Twitter: @KevinMcCNBA.