Dwight Howard will play for the T1 League Taoyuan Leopards of Taiwan
Former slam dunk champion Dwight Howard, aka Superman, entered the 2022 NBA season on the free agent roster. Throughout training camps and three weeks into the season, no one has come knocking on Howard’s door so far. And you’ll never guess which team is giving Howard a chance to pursue his career, probably because you’ve never heard of it.
The three-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year’s basketball trip took him to Taiwan to play for the Taoyuan Leopards of Taiwan’s T1 League, Howard announced on Tuesday. Monday via Instagram.
“Taiwan, I have amazing news for you guys. Superman is in the building,” Howard exclaimedbarely able to contain his excitement.
“I have always loved the energy I felt when visiting Taiwan as you can see I still have posters hanging on my walls from my first 2 visits! I am ready to enjoy life practicing sport that I love in front of a group of people who love me and for my people in Taiwan, have your posters ready to welcome yours truly,” said the 2020 NBA champion.
Professional sports are fun in the way they work sometimes because they can be very similar to high school. If you’re not with the “in” crowd, you’re just shunned and seen as an outsider. For much of his career, it’s been Howard. Look at its accolades and judge for yourself:
- Eight times All-NBA
- Eight-time All-Star
- Five-time rebounding champion
- Three-time defensive POY
- NBA Champion (2020)
- Slam Dunk Champion (2008)
- 2004-05 All Rookie Team
But when it came time to announce the NBA’s 75th anniversary team last year, Howard was nowhere to be found. If Anthony Davis made this list, Howard should have been a lock. Davis was a great player at one time, but his list of accomplishments can’t touch what Howard has achieved in the Association. In fact, Howard and Davis got into a fight on the Lakers on the sidelines last season just as the 75th anniversary team was unveiled.
Howard talks about playing the sport he loves in front of people who love it. It never felt like the NBA really liked him for any reason. He got sucked into nonsense quarrel with NBA legend Shaquille O’Neal on a nickname neither of them has the rights to. Shaq was a great player but doesn’t own the nickname and quite frankly needs to get over himself. O’Neal likes to brag about having earned several college degrees. Well, how about using some of that intellect to control yourself and RELAX?
With this latest revelation, it’s amazing how little the NBA thinks about Howard. Instead of a team signing Howard to come off the bench to play 15 minutes a night, he is forced to go play overseas. Howard says he loves the Taiwanese and their energy, but had he had the chance, he probably would have jumped in to play for the veteran minimum in the NBA this year.
If Deandre Jordan is still making an NBA salary, Howard should be in line to do the same. Jordan is playing 13 minutes per game in Denver, averaging six rebounds and one blocked half a game. Howard did the same for the Lakers last season in 16 minutes while averaging more points than Jordan.
In no phase of Deandre Jordan’s career was he ever a better basketball player than Dwight Howard. Not in the NBA. But like anything else in life, when you associate with the right people, you can benefit from doubting strangers. When Kevin Durant came to Brooklyn, he had to have Jordan, and we saw how that worked out. Well past his prime, DJ continues to get calls while Howard is out of the league.
Of course, Howard wasn’t always the easiest to get along with – ask Stan Van Gundy. And his attitude rubbed some the wrong way – Kobe Bryant was not a fan neither – but for it to be avoided in this way is despicable. Howard even dealt with rumors about his sexuality which he put to rest a few years ago. It’s unclear if these rumors played a part in his treatment in the league over the years, but the fact remains that Howard was one of the most notable big men of his day.
With Howard now committing to play in Taiwan, it takes him off the NBA radar for a while. But if he plays well enough in the T1 league, it could open the door for Howard to come back and finish his NBA career on his terms.