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Dwight Howard “thrilled” to be in Charlotte

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The Hornets introduced Howard at a press conference today and everyone left feeling fuzzy and warm inside.

Dwight Howard poses with his new Charlotte Hornets jersey. He will wear no. 12 with the Hornets.
Credit: Doug Branson, Locked On Hornets

Dwight Howard showed up to his introductory press conference in a teal tuxedo—surely because it’s one of the Charlotte Hornets’ colors—and spoke candidly about his career up until now and where he sees himself today.

“This suit was in my closet,” he said when the media asked him if he had the suit made for today.

“I’m thrilled to be in Charlotte,” Howard said. “Me and Cliff, we go way back.”

Howard cited the organization’s professionalism, attention to detail, and defensive focus as reasons he’s happy to be here. Hornets head coach Steve Clifford elaborated on that point, saying that many people don’t realize Howard plays a thinking man’s game and instead think he relies on his athleticism.

“Smart always wins in the NBA,” Clifford said of Howard’s basketball intelligence. Clifford detailed the many ways Howard helps his teams and reiterated that many of his critics take what he does for granted.

It’s possible he got a bit carried away, but at one point Howard said he would like to finish his career in Charlotte. He said he’s much wiser now, and realizes that if he wants to play basketball as long as he’d like to, he’s going to have to take things more seriously and expand his game.

“I take this game very seriously,” Howard said. “But I want to have fun doing it.”

Howard also said he’d like to reconnect with Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton and work collaboratively to make a difference in the community. He spent a surprising amount of time talking about community involvement—more than most players would, anyway—which leads me to believe he’s dead serious. I’ve heard he’s quite the activist everywhere he goes, too.

Here are some other highlights from today’s press conference:

Marv and him have a bit of a history, aside from being teammates twice now

Dwight on Cliff and Cliff on Dwight:

On the Hornets:

And some other cool stuff:

Awfully cool, right?

So here’s what I took away from this: Dwight’s a good dude and is probably misunderstood by people who hate him. He’s in this for the right reasons—team, family, community—and believes he has a heck of a lot left in the tank, even hinting that his best days may be ahead of him thanks to how much wiser and stronger he is now.

That said, dude’s quite the charmer and could very well have rehearsed all of this. I doubt that’s the case, however, as he came across as candid and sincere. You can usually tell when someone’s putting in on, and I didn’t get that impression watching Dwight gush about the Hornets, Clifford, and Charlotte.

I’m so excited for the upcoming season.