Dwight Howard Named Defensive Player Of The Year

Early this season, the Orlando Magic center was talking to Patrick Ewing and Dikembe Mutombo. The once great big men were giving Howard some tips, and Mutombo asked him a simple question.

“He said, ‘What do you want to be remembered as, the great dunker who won the slam dunk contest with a Superman outfit on, or do you want to do something better than that?'” Howard recalled Tuesday. “I said, ‘I want to be one of the greatest players.’ And he said it starts with defense.”

Mission accomplished.

The 23-year-old Howard became the youngest player to win the NBA’s defensive player of the year award Tuesday. Howard was only the fifth player to lead the league in blocks and rebounds in the same season, a goal he set in training camp.

“A lot of guys don’t want to go up (for blocks) because they’re afraid of getting dunked on,” Howard said. “Dikembe and Patrick told me, ‘As many times as you’re going to get dunked on you’re going to have more blocks.'”

Press Release

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