Dwight Howard took questions from assembled media members on Friday afternoon from All-Star festivities in Houston. Here’s a transcription of what he had to say:
Q: On Joakim Noah’s season and this year being his first All-Star appearance:
Howard: I’m happy for him. I’m happy for Joakim. We played against each other since we were in 10th grade. To see him grow from the player he was then till now … before that, Joakim was a water boy and towel boy, and didn’t play much basketball. He kept working and all his hard work is paying off, so I’m really happy for him.
Q: On how his shoulder feels:
Howard: My shoulder is getting a lot better. The only thing I can do for it right now is to continue to rehab and continue to strengthen it. It’s torn, so it’s not going to change.
Q: On re-aggravating the injury in the All-Star game:
Howard: Not really. I don’t think guys are going to try and intentionally foul me to put on the line in the All-Star game. I think I’ll be fine.
Q: On trying to get acclimated to playing with Steve Nash and Kobe Bryant this season in such a short period of time:
Howard: It’s tough because all of us have been the primary guys on our teams since we’ve been in the NBA. Now we really have to learn how to play together, share and sacrifice a part of our game to help the team. A lot of that takes time, and unfortunately, we’ve paid the price for it by losing some games. We got to figure out a way to do it, and do it fast.
Q: On playing with Jameer Nelson in Orlando and their success playing together:
Howard: That took time. We had to develop that. We didn’t have that right away. Over the years, it got better. As we got older and wiser, it started to work for us. But when we first got together, the pick-and-roll didn’t work. None of that stuff worked, but as we grew, we got better at it.
Q: On his off-the-court role with the Lakers now in terms of his leadership as opposed to his role in Orlando:
Howard: Same way. I’m pushing guys to continue to train and guys that don’t play a lot to continue to work on their games. Keep getting better, keep pushing and keep everybody at a happy place so we can get better every day.
Q: On the challenges this season with the Lakers and if it’s helped him grow into a better leader off the court:
Howard: Think so. I’ve had to really take a step back and see what I can do to help my teammates out and also help myself out.
Q: On Michael Jordan’s impact on the game:
Howard: Everybody wanted to be “Like Mike.” He’s amazing. Everything he did, he inspired everybody to be a better basketball player and a better (person). That’s why I enjoyed watching him play.
Q: On the Houston Rockets and the season they’re having so far:
Howard: I like their team. They’re a great team, they’re young, they play hard, they’re scrappy and they play together. Everything they do has been great. It’s fun to watch them. They’re one of the teams that you can tell in a few years they’re going to be really good.
Q: On if he can relate to Deron Williams’ struggles this year in terms of his injuries:
Howard: It takes time to heal. It’s stuff we have to deal with and it’s hard to sometimes overcome injuries right away. It takes a lot of time. Ankles are different from backs, but it takes time.
Q: On how he’s managed to deal with everything this season from his injuries to the team’s season thus far:
Howard: I just try to stay away from the tube and do as much as I can to rehab my shoulder, my back and my mind. I just really get away everything when I’m not playing basketball.
Q: On what he’s looking forward to this All-Star weekend:
Howard: I’m looking forward to the dunk contest and the game itself. Playing on the West is different. I’m usually playing with LeBron (James) and Dwyane Wade and all those guys. Playing with Kevin Durant and all those guys is going to be fun. It’s going to be a battle.
Q: On who he thinks will win the 3-point shooting contest and slam dunk contest:
Howard: Ryan Anderson. He’s back in it and I think he’ll win it this year. The dunk contest … I think Gerald Green is going to go back and win it. Him and James White will go at it. It’s going to be fun.
Howard took questions from assembled media members on Saturday prior to practice. Here’s a transcription of what he had to say:
Q: On his message to Michael Jordan turning 50 years old:
Howard: Health, happiness and love to Michael Jordan on his birthday. I think that’s what we all want is our health and happiness – that’s the biggest thing. I’m happy for him.
Q: On if Jordan is somebody you can still look up to and aspire to be:
Howard: Oh yeah, no doubt. He’s the best. He’s at the top. I enjoy him and enjoy what he’s done to the game and for the game.
Q: On if he’s had the chance to rest during this weekend:
Howard: There’s no chance for us to rest and relax. We’ve been working since we’ve been here. Even though it’s All-Star weekend, it’s a great time for us to get with fans. If we have kids, we get an opportunity to take our kids around and let them see All-Star weekend.
Q: On if he’s excited for the pregame introductions before the All-Star game:
Howard: I know last year being with LeBron (James) and those guys, they wanted to do a dance and have fun, but I don’t know about the guys in the West yet. We’ll see how that goes.
Q: On his favorite pregame introduction at an All-Star game:
Howard: Last year was pretty cool in Orlando. The year where we came up the ground was pretty cool (in Dallas). Each year they find something crazy and exciting.
Q: On Pau Gasol and what he brings to the table:
Howard: He’s a four man who can shoot the ball and pass the ball very well. He’s a great post up player. He’s a great player.
Q: On if any of the criticism directed towards Gasol has been unfair this year:
Howard: We’re always going to get criticized when we don’t perform to the level people feel like we should perform. We know how important he is to our team, he knows how important he is and we know what he can do. There’s no need for us to feel any different about him.
Q: On what he sees from the Lakers in the second half of the season:
Howard: We got a great opportunity to make a statement and get better. Our last couple games have been pretty good. The last loss we had was bad, but other than that, we’ve been playing a lot better.
Q: On Tyson Chandler’s game :
Howard: He’s the Knicks defensive anchor. He plays hard, blocks shots and rebounds. That’s all they ask (of) him and he does a good job at it.
Q: On Derrick Rose’s comments about possibly not returning this season:
Howard: He has to play when he’s ready. He can’t risk his career or what other people think and what he should do. He should come back and play when he’s totally ready.
Q: On what it means to him to be a role model for young children:
Howard: It’s amazing. I’m happy kids look up to me and I’m going to do whatever I can to inspire those kids.
Q: On his thoughts about being voted to another All-Star game:
Howard: It’s a humbling experience and I’m happy to be a part of All-Star weekend. I always thank the fans for voting for me to be here. It’s a blessing and an honor.