Orlando Magic superstar center Dwight Howard’s mouth was agape and shock was on his face when he got his first look at his ripped, 6-foot-11 likeness seemingly soaring through the air at the Amway Center on Tuesday.
“Is that how high up in the air that I look for real?’’ Dwight asked upon seeing the life-sized tribute to himself about to dunk a basketball. “I didn’t think that I really looked like that. Am I really that big? That’s a big guy. I’m amazed.’’
AirTran, whom Dwight is partnered with as an official spokesman, unveiled a life-sized likeness of the Orlando’s All-NBA center on Tuesday at the Amway Center. The image is a replica of Dwight in full-flight from his famous “Superman’’ dunk from the 2008 NBA Slam Dunk Contest. The display also incorporates AirTran Business Class seats, allowing fans to take their pictures with the image of Howard flying overhead.
Upon seeing the image, Dwight was enthralled with the incredible detail and design of the mannequin. And while standing under the image of himself, he was somewhat taken back at what it must feel like to try and stop the NBA’s best dunker when in flight.
“It’s amazing, it really is,’’ Dwight said upon seeing the display. “I’ve only seen myself in pictures, but now this is like being up close to Dwight. Wow!’’
AirTran began a partnership with Dwight last year, and President, CEO and Chairman Bob Fornaro said the company couldn’t be happier having the Magic’s superstar center as one of its spokesmen. AirTran values Dwight’s rising star power on the basketball court with the Magic and his years of work in the community helping others.
“With Dwight, he’s wonderful, he’s great in the community and he’s a star already,’’ Fornaro said.
Dwight’s Magic (7-3) host the Phoenix Suns on Thursday at Amway Center. Dwight ranks fourth in the NBA in blocked shots (2.8), fifth in rebounding (10.9), ninth in field goal percentage (57.4) and 19th in scoring (21.1). He had 18 points, 14 rebounds and two blocked shots in Monday’s defeat of Memphis.