Almost a decade ago, the Orlando Magic used the first pick in the NBA draft on Dwight Howard who spent eight seasons with the Magic leading them to a 2009 Eastern Conference title. He was named the league’s Defensive Player of the Year three times, and represented the Magic in six All Star games, but despite those accomplishments, many will remember Howard’s time in Orlando for how it ended, but he isn’t one of them.
“It’s the place where I started my career,” Howard said Tuesday night after the Rockets 106-103 win over the Miami Heat. “Even though it didn’t end how everyone wanted it to, we didn’t have the story book ending. It was just great to be there.”
Wednesday night marks the second time Howard will play in Orlando since being traded to the Los Angeles Lakers on August 10, 2012. Last March, Howard was greeted by a chorus of boos in his first trip by to Amway Center and responded with 39 points and 16 rebounds. He attempted a career-high 39 free throws, knocking down 25 of them. The jeers will still be there on Wednesday, but during the first quarter the Magic will air a video tribute to Howard as a part of its 25th anniversary celebration.
“I had so much fun and so many memories that will last a lifetime,” he said of his time in Orlando. “I’m just looking forward to being back, trying to get to waffle house and have a good time”
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