Dwight Howard seems to ready to call it a career on the hardwood. The future Basketball Hall of Famer and NBA75 snub sounds like someone who’d be OK if no team offers him a role for the 2022-23 NBA season.
While Howard hasn’t officially retired, he sounds like he’s really serious about pursuing a wrestling career as a second act.
Dwight Howard Is The Perfect NBA Player To Turn Pro Wrestler
He definitely has the charisma, strength, athleticism and cult following to blow up in the wrestling world. He can be the heel or the hero, he’s versatile. His 6-foot-10 size makes him a giant of sorts and he’s chiseled like a Black Adonis. Howard’s NBA acclaim and popularity in major markets makes him a home run addition for any wrestling organization. His celebrity would probably triple within the first season, if WWE sets his matches up correctly and allows his comical side to shine through.
He doesn’t necessarily have to play up his NBA career, as he’s definitely talented enough to take on a whole other character and persona. The future NBA Hall of Famer can blaze a new trail as the first hoops star to become a full-time pro wrestler.
Championship banners and offensive dominance aside, Howard’s career has mirrored his predecessor in Orlando, Shaquille O’Neal, in several ways. They were both franchise centers in Disney World, who took the unheralded franchise to its only two NBA finals appearances. Shaq was the self-proclaimed Superman first and then Howard adapted the name and the outfit, including cape when he won the 2008 Slam Dunk contest.
The former three-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year has been one of the game’s best big men over the past two decades. But maybe it’s time for a career change at age 36. Howard recently had a tryout with the WWE, and from the sound of it, things went well.
“I’m not coming into this thing as I’m Dwight Howard, the basketball player. This is a whole new ballgame for me. … I want to learn from all these guys and be the best wrestler I can be if it leads down this path. Where I am wrestling and enjoy it. I mean, you only get one life, you know. “
In many ways Howard is mimicking the career of a former nemesis of his in Shaquille O’Neal. Both played for the Orlando Magic, Los Angeles Lakers, and now in wrestling. Shaq didn’t take it as far as Howard intends, but the former LSU big man participated in a handful of WWE matches.
“I’m not coming into this thing as ‘I’m Dwight Howard the basketball player.’… I want to learn from all these guys and be the best wrestler I can be if it leads down to this path.” – @DwightHoward on his WWE tryout
— B/R Wrestling (@BRWrestling) July 29, 2022
As A Kid Howard Hoped To Be Like Wrestling Legends Hulk Hogan, Macho Man Savage
The names Hulk Hogan and Randy “Macho Man” Savage are synonymous with the sport of pro wrestling, and, as children, many wanted to be like them. Howard is no different, and he talked about that in his post-tryout interview.
— Jon Alba (@JonAlba) July 29, 2022
“If I have the opportunity to be a wrestler,” said D12, “that’s something I’ve dreamed about seeing a as a kid. Hulk Hogan, Randy Savage, just all these different wrestlers and I am actually one, that would be amazing.”
Howard attempt to do this comes at a time when CEO Vince McMahon stepped down amidst allegations of sexual misconduct and hush payments to the women involved. With Triple HHH taking over taking over the creative talent portion of the company, it may bode well for Howard to join now.
Howard’s bigger than life personality and infectious smile won’t hurt his chances to join WWE Raw or Smackdown.
Howard Has A Hall Of Fame Résumé On The Hardwood
If we’ve seen the last of the hulking Howard on the hardwood, he’s definitely earned himself a spot in the Basketball Hall of Fame. His eight All-Star appearances, eight All-NBA selections, including five first team, five rebounding titles and two blocks titles, make him a lock. He also had an unlikely run to the NBA Finals early in his career, knocking off LeBron’s Cleveland Cavs. In 2020, he finally won that elusive NBA championship with the Lakers, completing his résumé.
His NBA75 snub is the only thing he hasn’t accomplished as a player and that was more about politics than his play.
Dwight Howard has more All-NBA selections (8) than any other player left off the NBA's 75th Anniversary Team.
Howard has as many All-NBA selections as Dave DeBusschere, Kevin McHale, Earl Monroe, Dennis Rodman, Nate Thurmond, Wes Unseld, Lenny Wilkens, and James Worthy combined.
— Justin Kubatko (@jkubatko) October 21, 2021
For a guy who never developed a real go-to-move on the offensive end, Howard still dominated, and especially on the defensive end. That’s where he used his elite athleticism and brute power to overwhelm opponents.
Maybe he’ll do the same in WWE.