Last night, the Charlotte Hornets convincingly beat the Washington Wizards, 133-109. Put aside that it was Charlotte’s second straight win over a playoff opponent, or that they are now 2-0 against the Wizards this season, or that they are just four games back of 8th place in the Eastern Conference. That’s all fine, but that’s not what I’m here for.
No, I’m here because Dwight Howard pulled off the best moment of the season.
With four minutes remaining and the Hornets up 22, Brooks picked Howard to take free throws in place of the recently ejected Michael Carter-Williams. Howard, who was likely in the process of determining what he was going to order from Bojangles after the game, was none too pleased to be picked.
But Howard is a showman. And like all great showman, he put on a performance that breathed life into the small crowd of fans who traveled through the snow to watch the game.
No doubt you have seen this countless times, but let’s enjoy it once more:
Dwight gets picked to shoot free throws— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) January 18, 2018
Crowd goes wild, he drains both and blows a kiss to the Wizards pic.twitter.com/rK6EEtF1J1
But this needs context. With the game decided, fans had been chanting “We want Monk” or “Free Malik” for the past couple of minutes. Monk finally headed to the scorers table, causing the crowd to erupt into celebration. So at this point, they are already excited. But before he could come in, MCW got way too upset at Jason Smith for falling over him, and may have decked him had Treveon Graham not swooped in and carried MCW away. That made the crowd even livelier, so when Howard stepped on the floor to take the free throws, he had no option but to make them to give the crowd something to cheer for.
It felt like fate. This season has sucked, to be frank, but Howard’s two meaningless free throws brought me more joy than anything else this season. Howard needed to make both and blow a kiss towards Brooks to remind us just how fun the NBA and watching the Hornets can be.
And like the free throws themselves, it may not change what happens this season. The Hornets, despite what I tell myself, may already be doomed, thus making the remaining games meaningless. But again, I’m not here for that. I’m hear because for a brief moment, Dwight Howard made me and everyone watching last night’s game forget about the team’s record, or who could be traded, or tanking. So thank you, Dwight, and thank you Scott Brooks for letting Howard flex on you for our enjoyment.