Dwight Howard Says He still Can't Believe He's Playing With LeBron James
Dwight Howard still catches himself looking over at LeBron James in the locker room in disbelief.
Their careers have intersected many times, from when they played against each other as teenagers to when they were drafted straight out of high school one year apart. But this season was the first time their careers intertwined.
"Me and LeBron have been playing against each other since we were 15, 16 years old," Howard said in an interview with his Laker teammate Jared Dudley over Instagram Live on Wednesday. "I was like, man, we'll never play with each other. We're always playing against each other. And all of the sudden, we end up teammates. I couldn't believe it. I was like, wow, this is crazy, I'm playing with LeBron James. It's still shocking."
After a failed season with the Lakers in 2012-2013, Howard played for five teams, getting waived by two of them. His career was on the rocks when he signed a one-year, non-guaranteed $2.56 million contract with the Lakers over the summer.
In his first stint with the Lakers, Howard acknowledged he wanted to be "the man" and had an ego clash with Kobe Bryant. This time around, he was willing to do anything.
"If that's throwing up the powder for LeBron before the game, no matter what it is, just doing it whole-heartedly," Howard said.
The partnership has worked out.
Howard has found success on the Lakers as a role player, averaging 7.5 points, 7.4 rebounds and 1.2 blocked shots a game over 19.2 minutes for the top team in the Western Conference.
And behind the scenes, James and Howard have a good rapport. They're both lighthearted and have a similar approach to the vibe they want in the locker room.
"We carry the music around," Howard said. "We want to listen to music all day and rap and sing and make jokes...We're like brothers from another mother. It's crazy."
Howard and James played together in eight All-Star games and won a gold medal together on the men's national basketball team at the Olympic Games in 2008 in Beijing.
They've played against each other 46 games time over their careers, meeting in the Eastern Conference Finals in 2009, when Howard's Orlando Magic beat James' Cleveland Cavaliers in six games.
Now, they're in the same locker room, hoping to bring the Lakers their first championship since 2010.
"It's been like a movie," Howard said. "I go home and I'm like, dang, this is amazing. This is an awesome feeling."