New Charlotte Hornets center Dwight Howard showed up for his introductory news conference in a teal suit Monday.
He just happened to have it in his closet back in Atlanta, but it sure fit the occasion. The Hornets traded for Howard, an eight-time NBA All-Star last week. He comes from the Atlanta Hawks, hoping to provide the rim protection this team badly lacked last season.
Some highlights from Howard’s news conference:
▪ He said he looks forward to sharing the “Superman” nickname with Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton. They both grew up in Atlanta, and Howard said he’s met Newton a couple of times but looks forward to getting to know him better: “We have the same attitude: We love to win, but we want to have fun.”
▪ Howard said he’s generally not responded to public criticisms in the past, but that he plans to confront things he feels are inaccurate in the future: “People have always said things about me that weren’t true.”
▪ He says he will “hopefully” end his career as a Hornet, after stays with the Orlando Magic, Los Angeles Lakers, Houston Rockets and Hawks.
▪ Howard said several times how much he looks forward to being coached again by the Hornets’ Steve Clifford, who was an assistant with the Magic and Lakers when Howard was there: “Not once did he turn his back on me. Not once did he talk bad about me. ...He understands me. He’s been around me for a long time.”
▪ Asked how much longer he plans to play, Howard said, “Until my body tells me to lie down.”
▪ Howard said his priority for the Hornets is a team that “talks and trusts” on defense.
▪ Clifford repeatedly praised Howard’s basketball IQ: “The thing that sets him apart is his intelligence. He’s as bright with coverages and personnel as any player I’ve been around.”
Bonnell: 704-358-5129; Twitter: @rick_bonnell