Dwight Howard was the youngest player in NBA history to record a 20-20 game. But it was not easy.
Dwight Howard entered the NBA as a scrawny high school grad and his potential was up in the air.
Some believed he would be great and there were just as many that did not.
But by the end of his rookie season, where he was an All-Rookie, more shifted to believing in his talents than not.
Then in his second NBA season, the majority of the NBA believed that he was going to be a superstar.
Fans loved him because of his playful personality off of the court (sometimes on as well) and his aggression on the hardwood as he lit opponents up (in a different way than you’re thinking of -more on that in a bit).
And the game that changed everyone’s mind happened early in the 2005 season.
At this time, Howard was still a 19-year-old kid. But he knew he was destined for greatness and knew his capabilities.
Dwight vs. LeBron
So, on Nov. 13, 2005, he tested himself.
His team, the Orlando Magic, hosted LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Everyone praised LeBron at this time and Howard wanted all of the adoration. Thus, he played his tail off and, to me anyway, wanted to break a record whilst playing against The King.
But like in NBA 2K, sometimes, you just fall a little bit short.
Howard tried to record a 20-20 game but only managed to grab 16 rebounds to go along with his 21 points.
And to add salt to that wound, the Magic lost.
But you just have to keep your head up and try again in the next outing, and that’s what he did.
Dwight vs. The Charlotte Bobcats
The Magic faced off against the Charlotte Bobcats and he was determined to make history this time around.
And as added motivation, he was also playing against Emeka Okafor -his draft-class rival.
In the first quarter of the game, Howard set out on his mission and snatched six rebounds and scored ten points.
Then, in the second quarter, he scored another five points and grabbed another three rebounds in just under six minutes of play.
After the halftime break, he re-entered the game and grabbed another six rebounds, but only scored two points.
Heading into the fourth quarter, Howard had 17 points and 15 rebounds. He just needed a handful more of both categories to reach his goal.
Tired after battling for 27 minutes against his foe, he mustered up every last bit of energy he had left in the tank to finish the game off strong.
He played nine minutes and in that time, added another four points and five rebounds to his stat line.
By the game’s end, D-12 had 21 points and 20 rebounds -his first 20-20 game ever. He also became the youngest player in NBA history to achieve this feat.
More importantly, however, is that the Magic beat the Bobcats 85-77. It was an important win for them as they started the season off slow and were 2-4.
And as an added treat, he out-battled his foe, who played poor basketball for 23 minutes because of foul trouble (Howard went too hard in the paint).
Howard went on to record many more 20-20 games in his career and was one of the most feared players because of his size, athleticism, and defensive I.Q.
Via The New York Times:
“The people who watched Dwight Howard dominate the N.B.A. up close don’t need reminders of how great he once was.
“They remember when he and LeBron James were the best players in the league. They remember what made Howard a three-time defensive player of the year, an eight-time All-Star and a member of the All-N.B.A. first team five years in a row.”
Howard won his first NBA title in 2020 with LeBron James, Anthony Davis, and the Los Angeles Lakers.