Atlanta Hawks big man Dwight Howard said something this week that has a lot of people in the basketball world talking.
It happened in a Q&A with Marc Spears of ESPN's The Undefeated. Howard was asked if he thinks he will someday end up in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.
Here is Howard's reply:
"No doubt. It’s kind of got swept under the rug because the perception of all the things that happened in Orlando. All of the media stuff. If you look at basketball itself, and I don’t ever talk about myself, but winning three Defensive Player of the Year trophies has never been done. Leading the league in rebounding six straight years. All that kind of stuff, I think that deserves it."
Howard sounds pretty certain, doesn't he? That confidence may come as a surprise to some, especially given how controversial he has been among fans over the years, but he's probably right. Though he's never won an NBA championship, he's had a long and successful career. He also won an Olympic gold medal in 2008 and that should help his cause.
Let's just look at his NBA résumé. He's an eight-time All-Star, five-time All-NBA selection, three-time Defensive Player of the Year and he made the All-Defense team four times. Howard led the NBA in rebounding five times, not six as he suggested, but he does rank favorably among the best rebounders of all-time. He's currently 23rd in NBA history, but on pace to pass Dennis Rodman in just one game. Howard has more rebounds than any active player.
Howard is one of only 19 players in NBA history to score at least 16,000 points and grab 11,000 rebounds are more. Almost everyone on that list is a Hall of Famer, but ahead of Howard are several that didn't earn the honor like Kevin Willis and Buck Williams.
Howard, 31, should have a few years ahead of him to continue improving his stats. Some day it may not be much of a debate at all. Right now, though, it's an interesting case to evaluate.