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Why is Dwight Howard joining the Taoyuan Leopards in Taiwan’s T1 League?

After 18 seasons in the NBA, the veteran center seemingly couldn’t find a team to take him. Now he’s off to Taiwan to ply his trade.

Why is Dwight Howard joining the Taoyuan Leopards in Taiwan’s T1 League?
Harry HowAFP

Having enjoyed a storied career in the league, the veteran is now set to bid farewell and take his skills across the seas to Taiwan.

Dwight Howard set to join Taoyuan Leopards

Though some will surely find it hard to believe, reports on Monday confirmed that former Lakers’ center Dwight Howard is now set to join the Taoyuan Leopards who play in Taiwan’s T1 League. The eight-time All-NBA center and three-time Defensive Player of the Year announced via an Instagram video that he would indeed be making the move. “Taiwan, this is Dwight Howard aka Superman,” Howard said. “I am so so excited, and I can’t wait to touch down and play for the Taoyuan City Leopards.”

Fans will of course remember that Howard last played for the Los Angeles Lakers during the NBA’s 2021-22 season. It was in fact the third time that Howard was on LA’s roster, which indeed was the team with which he won his single NBA championship title in 2020. While in yellow and purple, he averaged 6.2 points and 5.9 rebounds across 60 games - 27 of which were starts. Curiously, Howard recently told Fox Sports’ Shannon Sharpe that he hoped for a move to the Golden State Warriors, before speaking of his desire to help Steph Curry while mentoring James Wiseman, the former No. 2 overall pick. “I would love to play season 19 and go out on top,” Howard said. “I would definitely love to do that. That would be amazing — and get a parade like I deserve.”

Why didn’t any team want Dwight Howard?

Despite his less than subtle “come get me” statement, it would appear that neither the Golden State Warriors or anybody else in the league took his invitation. To that end, Howard actually spent the first three weeks of the season without a contract, something that he openly indicated he felt disrespected on. Further to that, the veteran also alluded to his exclusion from the league’s 75th anniversary team. “I really can’t believe how disrespected I feel,” Howard said at the time.

In fairness, Howard’s situation isn’t a case of a player being past his prime, but rather a scenario in which the game itself has evolved around him. During his prime years, Howard was without doubt a consistent scorer and more than anything, one of the best rebounders and defenders in the league. That unfortunately, was then and this is now. Today’s game has seen an increase in emphasis on perimeter play. As much as he will surely be a Hall of Fame inductee, it’s now clear that at 36-years-old, his time in the NBA has come to an end. That being said, Howard clearly saw the writing on the wall and chose to secure his own future.


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