Had a little sit-down Friday with the newest Hawk, center Dwight Howard, for a story that appears in Sunday’s AJC and on myajc.com.
The questions ranged far and wide; and the answers followed suit. Howard has plenty to say, and here early it's all the right stuff. All in all, far too much to shoehorn into a single story.
So, here are parts of the Howard interview that didn’t make print – kids, you can Google what that is – but were too good to just let fade away.
Q: You are known for your imitations, do you have one yet for Coach (Mike) Budenholzer?
A: “I don’t have a Bud imitation. He doesn’t have a crazy voice. But he has a pretty deep voice, so I’m pretty sure by mid-season I’ll have him down pat.”
Q: On the subject of the coach, he has been known to yell at a player or two in his day, regardless of the player’s status. How are you going to take to that?
A: “I don’t have an issue with that. There has always been a misconception that I hate being yelled at, but any coach that has coached me knows I am going to work hard, I am going to give everything I have for my team. And they also know when I’m playing, when I’m in that zone, I’m going to go, I always listen to my coach, I want that out of my coach – to push me to make me better. Why wouldn’t I want that out of somebody? That’s one thing that intrigued me about coach Bud, he’s not afraid to be that guy to go off on a player to push him. That’s not something that’s negative.”
Q: I saw a story from Los Angeles during your one year with the Lakers, in which a nutritionist said your glucose numbers were off the chart then. She said you were consuming the equivalent of 24 Hershey bars a day in sugar. Could that be true?
A: “I was eating a lot of crazy food back in the day. I’ve slowed down. (But) sometimes during the summer I have those moments I want to eat everything, be a kid again, and don’t realize I’m 30. I got to eat the right things.
“I was a big candy guy. It’s tough to wean off that sugar. Sodas weren’t a problem. The biggest problem were Skittles, Honey Buns, Twix – that kind of sugar I was consuming at a high rate.”
Q: Have you had any conversations with your friend Josh Smith about the challenges of playing at home in Atlanta?
A: “I haven’t talked to him about the situation with the Hawks. I think everybody has different situations, they have different feelings about playing at home. I know it can be difficult to play at home, and it’s understandable especially in today’s society with social media, with people being able to feel like they have the right to say whatever they want to say.”
Q: What was it that convinced you to sign with the Hawks this time?
A: “Really it was the coach and the direction of the team. Talking to (owner) Tony Ressler, his vision for basketball and for the team, it felt like it was the same vision that I have. It’s something I actually dreamed about before I went to Houston, because Atlanta was one of my top choices then. But as I’ve said, I think myself and the team were in different places three years ago than they are today. I’ve seen the growth and change in the team. I’ve seen a lot of growth and change in myself. And it’s like we’ve both hit at the right time.”
Q: It was 2009 when you were with Orlando that the Magic beat LeBron James and Cleveland for a trip to the NBA Finals. Well, here you are again, with the Cavs and LeBron standing in the way. And nobody thinks you can by them now. Your thoughts?
A: “That’s understandable. I think our biggest competition will be ourselves. I know for myself it will be that way. I will be playing with a good group of guys and we’re going to try to make the game easy for ourselves. We don’t need anybody to believe in us, we have to believe in ourselves. I think by us doing that, we’re going to put belief in other people once they see how confident we are.”