Dwight Howard: From High School Prospect to NBA Star – The Magic Johnson Trauma

Dwight Howard: From High School Prospect to NBA Star – The Magic Johnson Trauma

By Pierre-Andréa Fraile | Sports journalist

Before establishing himself as a superstar in the NBA, Dwight Howard made himself known during his high school career in the United States. A period during which he particularly caught the eye of Magic Johnson, who then caused him to experience a slight trauma.

If he cannot legitimately be considered a legend of the Lakers, he nevertheless contributed to the conquest of the 17th title in the history of the franchise. Dwight Howard took part and played a key role in the Purple & Gold’s coronation in 2020. This allowed him to win the first and only championship ring of his career, but also to achieve one of the objectives that was set for him upon his arrival in the NBA.

As the 1st pick of the 2004 Draft, the pivot knew he was surrounded by great expectations. It must be said that observers were already closely following his development on the high school floors, he who very quickly emerged as a huge prospect during his adolescence. His performances at the time were the subject of great attention, including from former stars of the league.

Magic Johnson’s Foreshadowing of Dwight Howard

Born on December 8, 1985, Howard was able to grow up watching the exploits of a certain Magic Johnson, whom he quickly idolized. This, until having the chance to meet him as a promising young high school student. An episode which inevitably marked the big man’s youth… but not necessarily positively. In an interview given in 2011 to ESPNhe precisely revealed the words that the legendary leader then spoke to him:

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When I was 15, he told me I was too skinny. Magic inspired me by telling me that I wasn’t going to make it, that I was too small. I was in second grade when he told me that. At that point, I was like, “OK, this is what we’re going to see.” »

An anecdote to which he alluded again a few years later on the set of Inside The NBAwhen asserting that Charles Barkley had expressed the same doubts about him:

I’ll never forget the day I came here and you (Barkley) told me I wasn’t going to be good in the NBA. Just like I’ll never forget the day Magic Johnson told me I was never going to end up in the NBA when I was in second grade. These are the speeches that boost me every day and push me to want to become one of the greatest players in the history of this sport.

Faced with such insistence on the part of D12, logic would dictate that he was indeed the subject of this dark omen from Magic. However, the latter has always proclaimed his innocence and cried lies, as was the case in 2016 at the microphone of TMZ :

I never told him that.

A big fan of Magic Johnson during his childhood, Dwight Howard assures that the latter did not think he was capable of joining the NBA. A speech that, however, categorically refutes the principal concerned. Everyone is free to identify the liar.

2023-12-07 21:30:00
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