Howard responds to Kareem's criticism
Dwight Howard heard the harsh criticism from Laker and NBA great Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. But he just thinks it’s a product of leaving Abdul-Jabbar's team.
“Well you know, I don’t pay any attention to that stuff,” Howard said on Friday just off the floor of the Toyota Center. “I did hear about it but everybody is entitled to their own opinion. When I joined the Lakers, I was the greatest center and then when I left, I was the worst, mentally I wasn’t capable of playing center. I understand that a lot of things are said out of emotion but I would say that if he has anything to say, I’m here in Houston. We can talk man to man. That’s how I feel about it.”
Abdul-Jabbar was on ESPN’s First Take on Thursday morning and criticized the new Rockets center. Here’s what he said:
"Dwight is an extraordinary athlete and he has incredible athletic ability, but basketball is a game where the most important muscle you use on the court is the one between your ears. Dwight's basketball IQ is not up to speed for him to be a dominant player. He has problems at both ends of the court. He doesn't have a 'go to' move."
The Rockets signed Howard this offseason after the big man spent one tumultuous season with the Lakers. He said he and Abdul-Jabbar don’t have a relationship and never have. Howard said the two have only had one conversation and it came before last season.
So what made the Hall-of-Famer bash the new Rockets’ big man? Well, Howard has a theory.
“I mean, it’s emotion and the fact that I left the Lakers. It is what it is,” Howard said. “I’m in a great place right now. And there’s no need for me to go back and forth with him. The one thing I would say is that he’s old enough that whatever I do, doesn’t even matter to him.
"I mean, he’s Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. If I’m Kareem, I’m like ‘why?’ Four championships, five championships, whatever. I’ve been in Airplane, did movies with Bruce Lee. I’m not worried about the young whippersnappers, you know. Just wish him good luck. But people do things different and when I’m done playing I’m going to do whatever I can to help the next generation get better.”
One of the main criticisms of Howard from Abdul-Jabbar involved Howard’s basketball IQ. On Friday, Howard had a chance to respond to the shot about his smarts on the court.
“Well you can’t win three Defensive Player of the Year trophies and be stupid,” he said. “It just doesn’t happen. In a row, you can’t do that. And I don’t think any coach that has ever coached me has ever said anything about me having a low IQ for basketball. Have I done some dumb stuff on the court before? Every player has. Have we all done something stupid in life? Yes. It’s life, we make mistakes, we learn from them. It is what it is. I think I’m very intelligent when it comes to this game of basketball. I’ve been playing since I was 3 years old. I’ve seen a lot and each year I get smarter and better.”