The NBA released their 75 Greatest of All-Time list earlier in the seasons, and there was definitely some controversy surrounding it. There were a lot of people who criticized the inclusion or omission of certain players.
One of the biggest snubs from the NBA 75 list was Dwight Howard, who was one of the best players in the league in his prime, and he notably led the Orlando Magic to a Finals appearance during the 2008-09 season.
In an interview with Tyler Tynes of GQ, Dwight Howard spoke out about getting snubbed from the list. He said it was "upsetting at first" to be snubbed, and claimed that he figured that he'd "get the short end of the stick".
I think that what I have done in my career, there’s no way it cannot be recognized. It was upsetting, at first. But, I didn’t take it too seriously. I felt before that I wasn’t gonna be on it because it felt like [the NBA] was trying to phase me out. People think I’m trying to blame the NBA for certain things, but I look at how certain things have happened in my career and I know some of these things are not on me. I’ve watched how I rarely get talked about when they mention [the Lakers]. It’s like I’m an afterthought. Like damn.
I’ve been in the league a long time. I’ve made an impact on every team I’ve been on, on and off the court, and it never gets recognized. So, I thought it was kind of crazy, but I figured I’d get the short end of the stick. I told my friends and the people I’m close to that I’m gonna start working harder and find other ways to generate positive messages to people. Making a list like that is only to get everybody riled up. To try to compare people’s careers, that doesn’t matter. To compare somebody to somebody else? No. We’re all unique individuals. This is a waste of energy.
Later on in the interview, Dwight Howard commented on the role of politics in him getting snubbed. He cited a story that claimed he was a "bad teammate and a cancer" while with the Charlotte Hornets but pointed out that he won the Teammate of the Year award just the year before, during his time with the Atlanta Hawks. Howard mused that it's almost as if "someone is putting these stories out" to lower his value.
I’ve seen the analytics on my last couple of seasons. In Charlotte, I averaged awesome numbers [16.2 ppg and 12.5 rpg]. I think I was in my 14th or 15th season. And I get traded? Out of nowhere?? And once I get traded a story comes out that I was a bad teammate and a cancer in the locker room and I’m not even that type of person. When I was on the Hawks the year before that I won the Teammate of the Year award. But then this story comes out? It’s like someone is putting these stories out to lower my value. And because I don’t speak on this stuff, [people] must think it’s true. It’s a lose-lose situation when you speak on that. I look at my numbers even from last year: if I was to play 20 to 25 minutes a night, I would’ve averaged over 17 rebounds a game.
The valuation from this year says I’m getting underpaid by [the Lakers] by 400%...People keep saying I’m this way or that way, that this is his reputation, this is what he does. I get it: You not gonna be the good person in everyone’s story. For some people, you gonna be the bad guy. But how could I go from the greatest person in Orlando, with the greatest smile and having fun and then it started to transform? I would see articles asking if I smiled too much. Why would you wanna take away somebody’s smile?...I’m damned if I do and damned if I don’t.
Hopefully, Dwight Howard will be able to make the next list, which will likely come during the NBA's 100th anniversary. Dwight Howard definitely deserved to make the NBA 75 list, and a lot of fans and players would agree.
As of now though, Dwight Howard's focus will likely be in helping the Lakers improve. He may not be the force he was in Orlando, but he is still a capable role player. Dwight Howard has won before with the Lakers, and perhaps he'll be able to help them do it again.