March 12, 2010
But it's not like those muscles just appeared out of nowhere. When Dwight entered the league out of high school, he was a stick-thin 6-foot-10, 215 pound pogo stick. Six years later, he looks like he does now.
That was by design, of course. And though it might seem like he's been crafted in the mold of a certain Orlando big man with a superhero fetish, in reality, his inspiration is far more ancient.
As soon as the Magic brass made Howard the number one pick in the 2004 draft, they got busy with their throwback experiment. The plan was to revive an ancient weapon that had disappeared from pro hoops: the all-around, old-school, multithreat big man. Orlando wanted someone who could operate deep inside enemy lines, someone who could block the paint, own the airspace, fire laser-sharp passes, finesse finger rolls, and never, ever foul out.
In a word: Wilt.
Yep, Wilt Chamberlain.
Oversized personality? Check. Incredible athleticism in an enormous body? Check. Bad free-throw shooting? Check. Seems like the Magic knew what they were going for.
And even though Dwight's got those gigantic shoulders and biceps, it's not all about glamour. The added heft has left his trainers calling him "freakishly indestructible" and claiming that "he never gets hurt."
It's all part of a plan that Dwight hatched when he was just 11 years old. His dad told him there would be sacrifices to making it to the NBA, but that didn't trouble the youngster. It seems like he's made up for missing out on fun as a kid.
"I've been playing with a smile on my face since I was 3," Howard says. "People keep saying it looks like I'm having too much fun. And I say, ‘Yes, I am.' And it should be that way. I guess that can make me a little hard to understand."
Included in the story are explanations of exercises Dwight does, if you'd like to feel inadequate. I'm kidding, of course, but you're probably not going to end up looking exactly like Dwight. C'est la vie.
The issue hits newsstands Tuesday, March 16, and it's chock-full of amazing tidbits of Dwight's strength and silliness. Pick it up if you need help fitting in to your new Ed Hardy shirts.