Dwight Howard Is Done With The NBA’s Disrespect | He’s Taking His Talents To The Taoyuan Leopards in Taiwan

(Photo by Brett Carlsen/Fan Controlled Football/Getty Images)

Is this a fall from grace? Or is this a reality check for Dwight Howard? While he was planning to make a return to an NBA team this season, no one bit the bait, and now he’s playing overseas for the Taoyuan Leopards in Taiwan. 

The eight-time All-Star announced on Monday that he would be signing with the Taiwanese team. This comes on the heels of Howard not receiving any traction on his potential reunion with the Los Angeles Lakers.

According to Basketball Network, Howard tried to rejoin the Lakers and they wouldn’t give him a multi-year contract because of his age.

I’ve been willing to go back,” Howard said. “They told me every time, ‘We’re not get nobody over 30 a contract, a multiple-year contract.’ So, I’m like, ‘Dang, I just helped y’all win the NBA championship. Y’all could get your boy a mil or two, or give me a mil. I don’t want a whole bunch of minutes. Give me 20 minutes, and let me ball out.’

Howard was once one of the greatest players in the 2000s and 2010s before a trade to the Lakers in 2012 became the beginning of his regression in his basketball career. Though he had a few solid years in Houston with James Harden, he was never the dominant “Superman” we knew him as before.

Howard since Houston has spent his years with teams that didn’t exactly look to tank for generational prospects but didn’t nearly have the amount of talent and resolve it took to win a championship either. Teams such as the Atlanta Hawks, Charlotte Hornets, and Washington Wizards.

That was until he signed with the Lakers in 2020 and helped them secure their championship in the bubble. Dwight Howard was a huge asset to that Lakers team, providing solid center play for this Lakers team when Anthony Davis had to sit. 

The ring was what most considered the icing on the cake to a Hall of Fame career, but when Howard was snubbed by the NBA for the Top 75 Anniversary Team, he began questioning his entire legacy, although he personally doesn’t see himself as anything but one of the best to ever do it at his position.

Though Howard, 36, is definitely past his heyday, he’s proved in the past few years with the Lakers and the Philadelphia 76ers that he is more than capable of keeping up. He’s still in shape, can still defend the rim down low, and run a good pick-and-roll with capable point guards. Frankly, it’s surprising that more teams haven’t shown interest in signing him. But honestly, if there was going to be any team to sign a 36-year-old veteran, it would’ve been the Lakers, who just last year had the oldest team in the league based on average age. 

Howard has been contemplating his future for a minute now as the calls from NBA teams have gone dry. He was initially contemplating a pro wrestling career.

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This might be the end for Dwight Howard in the NBA, but the start of a legendary career overseas. 

Players like Jimmer Fredette and Shane Larkin have made illustrious careers overseas after their NBA days were over, and they didn’t have half the résumé or star power as the man formerly known as “D-12.”

In the meantime, clearly signing to play with the Taoyuan Leopards is a steppingstone for Howard, and he still loves the game, which is why he would rather play in Taiwan than close the curtains on a first-ballot Hall of Fame career. 

Howard is also ready to get straight to the grind with his new team.

“I am so so excited, and I can’t wait to touch down in Taiwan and start playing,” Howard said.

The other thing about those overseas careers is that they’re always on the radar for NBA teams looking to sign someone back into the league for bench depth. Howard’s career isn’t over just yet, and he should have the right to choose when he hangs up his jersey. The Orlando Magic surely will retire his number when he’s done playing.