Dwight Howard‘s comeback attempt comes along with an attempt by SI writer Lee Jenkins to help fans reinterpret who Howard is — and who the big man has been all along. Jenkins gives us the man in full, and it’s predictably a big, complicated man with an unimaginable career trajectory. Howard, who has been written off plenty, is still only 31 years old. That’s the age when Hakeem Olajuwon started winning NBA Championships — it’s hardly too late.
Howard now plays for Michael Jordan‘s Hornets. Jordan himself has reportedly told Howard not to play “angry” but rather to play “determined.” That puts Jordan in a long line of well-meaning people who have told Dwight Howard how to play basketball, a line that includes former teammate Kobe Bryant. Whatever the advice, Howard keeps playing the way he wants to — or the only way he can. In 2009 that meant leading the NBA in blocks and rebounds, and leading the Magic to the Finals. Since then it’s meant less. Howard remains a major talent, and very healthy for a NBA veteran with his tenure. Maybe this is finally Dwight Howard’s year?