KEY POINTS

  • Dwight Howard has been on a redemption year in his second stint with the Lakers
  • Howard has confirmed his participation in the 2020 Slam Dunk Contest
  • Favorites Zach LaVine and Aaron Gordon are possible contestants for this year's contest

The 2019-2020 season has been Dwight Howard’s redemption year. Being an eight-time All-Star and three-time Defensive Player of the Year, Howard was considered as one of the best big men in the league.

But a series of injuries and quick stints across different teams have left him out of the picture in recent years. Despite the setback, Howard remained persistent in bouncing back into relevance.

He’s made an effort to revamp his physique and ensured to stay healthy. He reportedly lost 25 pounds in the off-season and was picked up by his former team the LA Lakers. It’s a grateful experience for Howard as he sees this as a second chance considering a disappointing 2012-2013 season with the purple and gold.

Howard plays a big role in the Lakers’ current success with his team-leading the Western Conference with a 34-9 win-loss record. His averages of 7.7 points and 7.6 rebounds per game may not scream the superstar markers of his Superman days, but his effort has been crucial nonetheless. He’s stepped up when needed to as seen in a 21 point, 15 rebound output against the Cleveland Cavaliers last week.

Another highlight of his season is a recent invitation to the All-Star Weekend’s Slam Dunk Contest. Howard participated in the competition three consecutive times before, winning it in 2008 immortalized by his Superman gimmick.

His last appearance came at a loss in 2009 where Nate Robinson leaped over the 6 feet and 10 inches of Howard for the winning dunk. Now at 33-years-old, this will be Howard’s fourth time to take part in the annual event.

While his invitation to compete was reported earlier in the month, the NBA tweeted Howard’s confirmation in next month’s event. It will be on February 15, as the city of Chicago will host the weekend’s festivities.

Howard’s possible competition will include former finalist Aaron Gordon if he is invited. Two-time winner Zach LaVine is still not certain if he will participate in the event, but would consider it provided he is selected first as an All-Star. Howard still has a lot of bounce in him and it will be exciting to see how the All-Star weekend unfold with the big man’s new image.

Dwight Howard Dwight Howard of the LA Lakers dunks during an NBA game against Charlotte Hornets. Photo: LA Times