Howard, Brooks sign autographs on off day
When Dwight Howard signed with the Rockets, one of the first things he mentioned was his excitement to give back to the community.
He has stayed true to his word, and Saturday was no different. After a brutal stretch of games in December with few breaks, the Rockets are finally enjoying their longest break of the season other than the NBA All-Star break in February. The team has the weekend off after a 102-100 win over the Knicks on Friday night, and Howard, along with Rockets guard Aaron Brooks, chose to spend part of his first day off signing autographs for hundreds of fans outside Valenti’s in West Oaks Mall.
This event was not through the Rockets organization but rather an event set up by Rockets legend and basketball Hall of Famer Calvin Murphy, who said the players did it for free. Murphy also honored Howard with a plaque, which thanked him for what he’s done in the Houston community so far.
“First of all, he asked to come out into the community, I didn’t ask him,” Murphy said. “He asked me because he knows I work in the community. He’s out here because he wanted to be. I wanted him to have something in his head that was tangible out of all the MVPs he has in the NBA – something from the community that says thank you. This is important to me. I’m getting emotional.”
“I just want to be here for the community,” Howard said. “This is my first year in Houston and I wanted the people to know that I’m very excited and blessed to be in this situation – to be here and have a chance to play here in Houston. The fans here have always been great to me and I want to show my gratitude by giving back to the community and also showing God how thankful I am to be able to be here and have a chance to play basketball in Houston.”