Asked repeatedly about his future plans after a dominant 20-point, 17-rebound effort against the New Jersey Nets, superstar center Dwight Howard had no desire to look any further ahead than this weekend’s NBA All-Star Game in Orlando.
And what a weekend it should be for the Magic’s all-world center, who will in some ways will be the unofficial grand marshal of the All-Star events played on his home court at the Amway Center.
“I look forward to having a lot of fun and showing everybody Orlando,” Dwight said. “That’s what it’s all about for me, showing everybody what a great place Orlando is.”
In addition to being the NBA’s leading vote-getter with a whopping 1.6 million votes, Dwight will serve as one of the honorary coaches for the All-Star Celebrity Game Friday night at the NBA Fan Jam Session. And on Sunday, Dwight will appear in his sixth consecutive all-star game and the fifth in a row as the starting center for the Eastern Conference.
Dwight showed Wednesday night why he is considered the best center in the game by destroying the New Jersey Nets on both ends of the floor in the Magic’s 108-91 victory.
Offensively, Dwight put on a clinic of how to play the center position. He made nine of 13 shots when the Nets dared to leave him single-covered. And when they double-teamed him, Dwight passed to open shooters for four assists.
Dwight did all of this while adoring fans in New Jersey chanted, “We Want Dwight!’ Other fans held up cardboard cutouts of Dwight’s face and posters begging him to consider the Brooklyn-bound Nets this summer when he becomes an unrestricted free agent for the first time in his career.
“I just tried to have fun with it. It’s a humbling experience. I wish more people could see how it feels to go into another arena and have big faces and posters of you. It’s a blessing,” Dwight said. “It feels good to have a great reception, not only here but everywhere I go. It’s humbling and I really appreciate it.”
When pressed about his future beyond this season, Dwight redirected the talk back to this season and this surging Magic team. He said his only focus for now is helping better this Orlando team and crafting a deep run in the playoffs.
“Right now my only concern is winning games (with the Magic) and playing as hard as I can every night,” Dwight said. “That’s the only thing that I can control. I put all of the other thoughts aside and focus on one thing. The only thing I can control is what I do on the court.”
As for the upcoming All-Star Game in Orlando, Dwight also said he has no control over trying to win the game’s MVP. Through the years, players have attempted to put hometown players in prime position to win the MVP award by feeding them the basketball. That’s been difficult in years past for Dwight because the game is so dominated by guards. His only mission for the weekend is to have fun and put on a great show for the fans.
“I just want to have fun. That’s what the whole weekend is about – having fun and putting on a great show for the fans,” Dwight stressed.