Magic Exit Interviews: Dwight Howard Quotes

Dwight Howard:

On his offseason plans:

“Get some rest and come back next season better.”

On the season not finishing the way you wanted:

“The season was great. The playoffs started out good we just didn’t finish them on our mission. We have to come back next season and go back at it. That’s all we can do now. There is no need to hang our heads, there’s no reason to mope around and be sad, we didn’t finish what we started but you know it’s a new day. We will come back next year and try to get one.”

On free agency:

“I’m not getting into that. That has nothing to do with me. I just play basketball. That’s what Otis’ job is and what Stan’s job is. My job is to go out there and work on my game and get better.”

On how close the team is:

“We were six games away, so that’s pretty close. We were right there with what we had. People may say it was a failure but there are not a lot of teams that get back to the Eastern Conference Finals two years in a row. Not a lot of teams to that. There are a lot of positives that came out of this season. We didn’t get our main goal but we accomplished a lot of things so like I said, there is no need to hang our heads or be mad at the world. We didn’t finish the right way but this season I think we learned a lot about ourselves. I think me and Jameer grew as leaders this year and we are just looking forward to next season.”

On keeping the team together:

“The biggest thing is that everybody in the locker room is hungry to come back next season and get the job done. That’s about all you can ask for, is people who are willing to get in the gym and continue to work on their games and just work towards our goal of The Finals.”

On the frustration of this season and last:

“It’s a little different. We didn’t expect to be sitting here today talking about next season. Like I said, all we can do is get on and learn from this. Last year, after we lost in The Finals, I just pouted and was upset and wanted to hide under a rock. After you go out and give it our all, that’s all you can do.”

On looking forward to playing at Amway Center

“Yeah, I’m looking forward to playing the new arena. It’s a new arena. I pass by it every day. I look at it like ‘yeah new arena. We are going to make some memories.’”

On watching The Finals:

“My friends and family want to go see The Finals and support some of the people in it, but I don’t want to see basketball right now.”

On his relationship with Hakeem:

“We’ll talk in the next couple of weeks and I just can’t wait to go out there. He is a great guy and he has a lot of great things to say and I’m just fortunate to be able to work with him.”

On the Eastern Conference Finals:

“The way we won the two games that we did win, we did it together. The games that we lost, as a unit, we tried to do it ourselves. We were playing a good team in Boston and we had to play like a team. It’s not going to be one guy or two guys that get the job done; it has to be a team effort. The reason Boston won that series is because they played like a team each night. People had a lot of numbers but for the most part they played like a team.”

On critical remarks the team received after Game 6:

“I don’t think they have a reason to be upset. Everybody knows what happened. Like I said, you can only move on from it and get ready for next season and try and get better.”

On first quarters being the key to the Eastern Conference Finals:

“They played harder than us. They came out in the first quarter. Whoever won the first quarter won the game. That was the key and we just kept telling the guys ‘we have to come out better, we have to start stronger.’ The first quarter and the third quarter of every game determines most games.”

On whether Boston wanted it more:

“They played like they wanted it more. They played like that the whole playoff run they have. They are playing together, they are fighting for loose balls. Every possession counts and they are in a position to win another title.”

On the bar being set high:

“That’s a disappointment to me. There are a lot of teams who, a lot of players who have never had 59 wins before. There is no reason to be upset or mad about not finishing on a great note. It does hurt, but the season was better that what a lot of people expected. We had a lot of new faces come here, and when you have a lot of new guys it takes time to get accustomed to playing with new guys. We all came together at the right time. We finished the season strong, we started the playoffs strong, we just didn’t finish the way we wanted to.”

On getting better:

“I just think it’s all mental. The biggest adjustment for me will be mental. Getting better mentally will help my game out.”

On changing his approach to be a leader:

“I was a little more vocal with the guys but I think they just want to see somebody get out there and go hard and then guys just follow my lead. I’m not one of those guys who is going to stand up and give a raw-raw speech. The guys just see me doing what I need to do and they fall in line.”

On free throws:

“It’s all mental. That’s why I said that’s my biggest area of growth is mental. I think the area I need to focus on most this summer is mental. I can practice when nobody is out there and make 200 free throws and then in the game I can’t do that same thing so it’s all mental. Once I have that mental block out, I think I will be much better.”

On flipping the mental switch:

“It’s a process. I just think the biggest thing for me is clearing my head and not worrying about why people say or what people write about me, whatever it may be. Just focus in on playing basketball. No one out there is perfect. The best free throw shooters in the world miss free throws. It’s just all about being mentally strong.”

On adding a mid-range jump shot:

“I just have to go do it. It’s not about adding. I just have to go do it.”