Howard Mocks Barkley, Wants to Settle MVP Race in Playoffs
But he's itching incredibly to settle the issue on the court at playoff time.
"What I do is not flashy. I don't do it with a lot of style,'' Howard said. "The MVP is something good for your resume, but I want a (championship) ring. I want the Finals MVP. That's better than winning the regular season MVP.''
As hard as he tries to dance past the subject of not being considered seriously for the NBA's most prestigious individual award today, Howard is bothered quietly that his dominance as the league's best center the past couple years is overshadowed by the highlights made by perimeter players.
He lets you know in his own, good-natured impersonation of basketball television analyst Charles Barkley, and the way he gushes most nights about James. Settling for another Defensive Player of the Year Award, whiles others compete for the MVP, makes Howard a little jealous.
Just listen. It's Howard talking, but in a nasally version of Barkley's own down-home drawl:
"LeBron James is the best player in the world. He'd be the best golfer that ever golfed -- if he golfed. He'd be the best twitterer if he twittered. He'd be the best Facebooker. LeBron James can do it all. I've seen him. LeBron James ... listen, listen ... LeBron James ... he is everything. He's everything that anyone could imagine as an athlete ... Listen, Kenny, Ernie, E.J ... let me tell you something ... listen, LeBron James ... LeBron James just epitomizes NBA players. He got the smile, the power ...''
Howard rambled for several minutes Tuesday, sounding very much like Barkley fawning over certain players. He took a break to do his Michael Jackson impersonation, then one of Magic general manager Otis Smith, then went back to Barkley, who opened up on teammate Brandon Bass, who was standing next to him.
"He's one of the blackest players to ever put on a Magic uniform ... blacker than Adonal Foyle, blacker than Bo Outlaw, blacker than Darrell Armstrong ... Listen ... Brandon Bass is the blackest player in the NBA ... with the pinkest lips.''
Howard had just finished practice and was amusing himself as much as he was amusing a group of reporters who were waiting for him to finish, hoping to get a few thoughts on his defensive dominance this season.
Howard is on the verge of becoming the first player in NBA history to lead the league in both blocked shots (2.74 per game) and rebounding (13.3 per game) in more than one season. He has 135 more rebounds now than second-place Zach Randolph. He has 39 more blocked shots than second place Andrew Bogut.
He also is shooting 60.7 percent from the field, has 58 double doubles and 15 technical fouls -- all league highs. He averages 18.9 points.
"It is just an offensive award,'' said Magic coach Stan Van Gundy when asked about the MVP. "People who vote just don't factor in defense, rebounding and how effective Dwight is defensively. I think it's unfortunate. If the criteria was how many possessions are you affecting at both ends, if that's what people thought about, then Dwight would be at the top of the league.''
The Magic, who have the league's third-best record, do lead the league in defensive field goal percentage (.436), primarily because of Howard, but he knows that statistic means little when it comes to the MVP race.
"The Orlando Magics are one of my favorite teams,'' he started again, in his Barkley voice. "... LeBron James has the best fans in the world ... ever. LeBron has the best shoes, the best hair dresser ... LeBron James, Kobe Bryant ... The rim, the rim look like a doughnut. Krispy Kreme doughnuts are round like a rim ..."