Dwight Howard says he is once again enjoying playing basketball as a member of the Houston Rockets after a bummerific year with the Los Angeles Lakers, and evidently, he was willing to go all-out this Christmas to show his teammates just how much he appreciates their help in rediscovering his smile.
Howard stuffed All-Star shooting guard James Harden's stocking with a very clean Audemars Piguet watch:
Quoth the Beard's Instagram caption: "S/O to my guy!!!! @dwighthoward got me the AP I wanted for Christmas. That's love bro."
(So was this, although apparently Harden wasn't quite so keen on it.)
Continuing the wrist-bling theme, Howard went the Rolex route for Chandler Parsons, Omri Casspi and Greg Smith:
"Thanks to the big homie @dwighthoward man got ya boy his first Rolex!!! It's woooo," Smith wrote, then added three "100" emojis, presumably because he views this as the perfect gift.
Howard's gift-giving spree extended beyond timepieces, too, according to ESPN.com's Marc Stein:
Howard [...] also sprung for a five-figure pair of limited edition Nike Air Mags modeled after the glowing shoes that transported Michael J. Fox to the year 2015 in "Back To The Future II" to present to stunned Rockets guard Aaron Brooks.
"Very, very exclusive," Brooks said. "He follows me on Instagram and he knows I'm into shoes and that's how he knew what I like.
"So generous. Most people on the outside look at him wrong. I know 'cause I did, too, before [becoming Howard's teammate]. He's a great guy. Huge heart."
And, perhaps more importantly, just plain huge. The biggest gift Howard has given his teammates and Rockets fans has been his sensational play this month: 21.3 points, 15 rebounds, nearly three combined blocks and steals, and two assists in 35.2 minutes per game, shooting just under 62 percent from the field and 60 percent from the foul line in 12 December games. He's looked more athletic in getting off the floor, smoother and more comfortable when operating out of the post, and more explosive when diving to the rim off the pick-and-roll; he's looked much more like the pre-back-injury, Orlando Magic version of Dwight recently than we saw at any time during his ill-fated stint in L.A.
Howard turned in another strong performance on Wednesday, scoring 15 points and grabbing 20 rebounds in 34 1/2 minutes to help pace the Rockets to a 111-98 Christmas Day win over the San Antonio Spurs. While Smith didn't suit up, as he continues to work his way back from a right knee injury, Harden (28 points, six rebounds, six assists), Parsons (21 points, six rebounds, six assists), Brooks (six points in 14 minutes off the bench) and Casspi (seven points, two assists in 19 minutes) all played like guys who really appreciated their teammate's kind gift-giving. Can you blame them?
Hat-tip to SB Nation's Michael Katz.
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