Dwight Howard – The future of the Los Angeles Lakers faced its storied past on Monday afternoon when Dwight Howard met his Showtime predecessor in Hall of Fame center Kareem Abdul-Jabbar for the first time.
“Just sat down with @kaj33,” Howardtweeted after the meeting. “Man God is so good. Was in tears. What a blessing. This is like a dream come true. Go Lakers.”
Howard, who was acquired by the Lakers in a blockbuster trade last month, then tweeted a picture of the two of them together with the caption, “Me and @kaj33 together. For many years to come.”
The “many years to come” will surely come as music to the ears of Lakers fans worried that the current game’s most dominant big man might leave after this season when he becomes an unrestricted free agent. Howard has insisted that he has not talked about an extension with the Lakers and won’t do so until this season is over.
After the meeting, Abdul-Jabbar tweeted the same picture of the two centers and wrote, “#Dwight Howard Great meeting you today – Laker Nation is in great hands for years to come. Now lets WIN a championship.”
Abdul-Jabbar added, “#DwightHoward thankful to impart my knowledge to a highly-motivated, gifted, athlete with integrity and focus on the prize – a championship!”
The meeting stemmed from a simple question asked of Howard by a fan on Twitter.
Howard was asked if he was going to work out with Abdul-Jabbar. “I am,” Howard responded. “When I am released.”
Howard was referring to getting clearance from his doctors to return to the court after undergoing back surgery in April. The six-time All-Star hopes to be back some time in October.
Abdul-Jabbar responded to Howard’s tweet with a tweet of his own on Monday.
“Lots of news about me and DH – would be great to coach him but as of now still haven’t met him,” Abdul-Jabbar tweeted. “Laker fans hope for the best always!”
Abdul-Jabbar had previously worked as a special assistant coach with Andrew Bynum from 2005-09. The two fell out of favor when Bynum, who was traded to the Philadelphia 76ers in the four-team deal that brought Howard to Los Angeles, reportedly told Phil Jackson and the Lakers’ coaching staff that he no longer wanted to work with the NBA’s all-time scoring leader.
Abdul-Jabbar’s contract as a special assistant for the Lakers expired in 2011. Shortly afterward, he publicly criticized the team for failing to give him a statue and for asking him to take a pay cut and not awarding him playoff shares as a coach due to his reduced role.
The Lakers announced last week that Abdul-Jabbar would get a statue in front of Staples Center on Nov. 16.