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Report: Lakers center Dwight Howard returning to dunk contest

Dwight Howard

LAS VEGAS - FEBRUARY 17: Dwight Howard of the Orlando Magic participates in the Sprite Slam Dunk Competition during NBA All-Star Weekend on February 17, 2007 at Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas, Nevada. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, user is consenting to the term and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)

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Dwight Howard’s sticker dunk was the best moment of the 2007 dunk contest. The then-Magic center tapped a sticker on the backboard 12 feet, 6 inches above the ground while throwing down a slam. Yet, he scored just a 42 and got eliminated in the first round. Gerald Green won. Howard said, after planning to participate again, he’d soured on the event.

“I just don’t think it’s for tall guys,” Howard said.

Howard returned anyway in 2008, played Superman and out-dunked Nate Robinson to win. Howard participated again in 2009 but got bested by Robinson in a rematch. Those Howard-Robinson duels were legendary.

Now, 13 years after his first foray into the dunk contest, Howard is returning to the signature event of All-Star Saturday night.

Shams Charania of The Athletic:

Los Angeles Lakers center Dwight Howard will participate in the Dunk Contest in Chicago at All-Star weekend, league sources told The Athletic.

The 13-year spread between his first and last dunk contest will be the largest-ever – by far. The current record is eight years by Gerald Wallace (2002-2010).

What a testament to Howard’s resurgence.

At 34, Howard will be the second-oldest dunk-contest participant of all-time. Julius Erving was an older 34 in 1985.

Howard has lost significant athleticism through aging and injury. This might be a more interesting idea on paper than reality. I’m not sure he can still get up like other younger dunk-contest participants. But he remains enough of a leaper to have a chance. He definitely knows how bring the dramatic flairs necessary to compete.

This will be Howard’s fourth dunk contest. Only Clyde Drexler (five), Dominique Wilkins (five), Jerome Kersey (four), Nate Robinson (four) and Shawn Kemp (four) have competed in so many.