I mean, why not keep what has apparently become Dance Day here at BDL going? New Los Angeles Lakers center Dwight Howard joined daytime talk show megastar Ellen DeGeneres on her peaceful, easy red chairs on Thursday, and man, did he seem at home.
From the second he walked out to the strains of "Gangnam Style" and began pretending he was riding a horse as studio audience cheers cascaded down upon him, the six-time All-Star looked completely in his element, as comfortable as he's been in ages and totally removed from the turmoil that's followed him for most of the past year (largely because he's been dragging it, kicking and screaming, by its leash). And why shouldn't he have? While Ellen is a fantastic stand-up and comedic trailblazer, "Ellen" is a place ruled by broad smiles, loud capital-L laughs, demonstrative dancing, unbridled enthusiasm and things that generally approximate comedy, even if they don't always really get there. It's the kind of place Dwight probably hopes to occupy once his playing days are over, and he showed Thursday that he is really good at being there.
After PSYing around like a champ, Howard appropriately kissed up to his host: "Can you pinch me? [Ellen obliges] I'm not dreaming!" Here is why he thought and said that, courtesy of intrepid and loin-girded reporter Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Times:
[...] Howard revealed on the show that he's had a crush on Ellen DeGeneres ever since hearing her "sexy" voice as Dory in "Finding Nemo."
He then let out his infectious smile and even teared up.
"Ellen is hot," Howard recalled thinking to himself. "I have to get on the show someday. Now that I'm here, it's a dream come true."
Congratulations to Dwight on his dream coming true. Mine haven't yet, but I still have hope, because I have been informed that rock 'n' roll dreams'll come through.
DeGeneres later complimented Howard for always smiling while he is on the court as opposed to scowling and snorting, which now has me dying to find out what a Kevin Garnett appearance on "Ellen" might look like. As evidence, she showed a picture of Dwight smiling as he corralled a one-hand rebound from Zach Randolph with his right hand during what appears to have been the 2010 All-Star game.
"And you see, I was still posing with the guns, and then I was smiling, so like, everybody enjoyed it," Howard said. "Like the crowd — they enjoy people who have fun. I love what I do, I've been playing basketball since I was 3 years old, and my dad told me when I was 10, 'Dwight, you smile too much. Stop smiling.' And I said, 'Dad, I just love to smile! It just brings joy, this is what I love to do. And then he watched me play; we won the game. He said, 'Dwight, you're smiling — I like when you smile. It's good.'"
"Good, well, keep smiling," DeGeneres said. "We love to see you smile."
Very Buddy the Elf of Dwight, and a perfect distillation of what makes Howard so marketable and likable to so many people off the court and, to some, a bit too "likable" on it.
Later, Dwight did his Kobe impression, because of course he did, and showed Ellen how to Dougie, because of course he did. Classic Dwight jokes.
In other Howard news, he's back on the court, working on post-ups and hooks with the likes of Lakers assistants Darvin Ham and Chuck Person, which will likely bring a smile to Lakers fans' faces:
Between all the dancing and those post moves, it sure seems like Dwight's getting some of that lower-back stiffness taken care of, huh?
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