Dwight Howard's comments on August 23, 2008 PERMALINK

On the gold medal game being less than 24 hours away …
I'm not anxious, but I'm just ready to go. I'm ready to get it started. This is what we've been playing for all summer. This is what we've been practicing for for three years: the gold medal. We're all excited. We're all ready to go. This is a great honor.

On playing in the afternoon for the first time …
I think we just have to get our rest tonight and be ready for tomorrow. All of us are just so ready to get going.

On facing Spain again …
We know they're gonna be a different team this time. We just gotta be ready for that difference from the first game until now. Knowing that Spain is a much better team than what we saw last time, I think they're gonna come out ready. We just can't let them get going.

On the challenge of guarding Pau Gasol …
He's a very smart player. He knows how to play the game. He can shoot, he can drive. He can do anything on the floor.

On the opening minutes of the game …
We want to come out hard in the first quarter. We want to come out very aggressive.

On his own performance so far …
I think I'm been playing pretty well. When I get in the game, I do whatever I can to help my team. I try to play good defense. I try to talk and be aggressive on the defensive end. And when I get opportunities to get the ball and score, I just try to put it in the basket.

On the end of a journey …
I can't believe it's the last day. We were just talking two months ago about how long this trip was going to be. And finally, it's almost over. It's kind of bittersweet.





Dwight Howard's comments on August 21, 2008 PERMALINK

On facing Argentina in the semifinals …
You can't look ahead. The next game is very important. It's like a Game 7. The winner goes to the next round and the loser goes home. So, it's very important that we come out ready. Argentina's a great team, and one of the toughest teams here. They won the gold medal in '04, so they know what it takes to win.

On the challenge of facing a new opponent …
Every team is gonna provide us with a challenge. This is the medal round, so each game is gonna get tougher. We've got to keep our head and play the way we know how to play.

On being an upbeat, happy group …
We gotta be happy. We're representing our country and we're playing in the Olympics. Why should we be sad? There's no point in being sad. We have a chance to play for a gold medal. I don't have one yet.

On more than a month away from home …
We're used to sleeping in hotels. During the season, we're always on the road, so it's nothing new for us. It's a different experience playing overseas and staying at another hotel, but it's fun.

I would like to sleep in my bed, get in my pool and relax, but it's all about business right now.

On potentially playing at the 2012 Olympics …
I would love to be back. Whoever's reading this, Dwight Howard wants to play in the next Olympics.

On some of his current teammates joining him in London …
If it's not broke, don't fix it.





Dwight Howard's comments on July 30, 2008 PERMALINK

On China's love for basketball …
I saw a court outside with about 60 people playing basketball, and it was raining, so I was like, "Wow, they really are passionate."

On whether he might be more popular here than in America …
I think so. I think more people watch sports on TV here than in the states. Sometimes, you might be more popular in China than in the United States.

On playing as a team …
We have to. It's not one man for himself. It's our whole team. We gotta play together. We gotta do everything the right way in order for us to win.

On hype surrounding his matchup with Yao Ming …
That's expected. He's gonna be playing in front of his home crowd, so I'm sure everybody's going to be excited to see that. It's gonna be a lot of fun.

He's a great player. He's one of the best centers in the game right now. It's gonna be very exciting.

On the age difference between him and Yao …
I'm 22 years old, so I'm fairly young. But he's still got a lot of years left to play. He's an excellent player and I love playing against him.

On how he feels with the first game 11 days away …
I feel good. I'm just trying to get in better shape for the Olympics. I took a lot of time off, so now I have to get in great basketball shape.





Dwight Howard's comments on July 29, 2008 PERMALINK

On his team's supposed lack of height …
We know how to play basketball. Me and Chris Bosh are the same height. I'm not the tallest person, so I'm not really worried about height being a factor. We all know how to play basketball and we play it well.

On defending the pick-and-roll …
That's one of the hardest plays to guard in the NBA and overseas. Once you practice against it enough and you run the different schemes, you become good at it.

On playing against zone or man-to-man …
Other teams will do both, but we're gonna be ready for it. We have a great coaching staff that does a great job of preparing us.

On the difference between this team and the 2006 squad …
We've been playing together longer. That's the biggest thing. We have a lot of confidence in each other.

On Friday's win over Canada …
I think we did a pretty good job, but there's a lot of things we still have to work on, a lot of small things that we have to get better on because those are the things that make the difference.

On Michael Redd's performance against Canada …
Michael was hot, but he's always hot. Any time he can get his shot off, he's money. He did an excellent job of shooting the ball.





Dwight Howard's comments on July 24, 2008 PERMALINK

On being prepared to start the Olympics …
Are we ready? Yeah we're ready. Over time we're going to get better. We know we have probably about a week before everything really starts, so we're just trying to play well with each other and get to know each other a bit, feel each other out.

On feeling pressure …
I don't think there's any pressure, but we do have a big responsibility. We really have to control the paint, we have to stay out of foul trouble and it's a lot of little things that we have to do in order to get our team where we need to be to win the gold medal.

On wearing the red, white and blue ...
I just want to represent my country. I never had a chance to do it before. This is my chance to do something good for my country.

On Thursday's long practice ...
We got here earlier than expected and we started right away, at around 11:45.

On having talented teammates like Kobe Bryant and LeBron James …
That's a lot of fun.

On two long scrimmages against the Select Team …
I think it was good for us to get to move and get to run. It was real good. The Select Team did an excellent job while they were here. It was great.

On ending practice with a two 4:15 long conditioning drills in a row …
It was tough. We're just trying to get back in shape and get to running. We know we got to do a lot of running when we get over there overseas, so, we got to get our bodies and our minds ready for that. The Select Team did a great job today and us ending on a 4:15 took a lot of heart and I'm glad we got through it.

On Friday's game against Canada …
We just go out there and play. This is going to be our first game together in a year so we got to see how everything flows.





Dwight Howard's comments on July 23, 2008 PERMALINK

On having to choose between a gold medal and a championship ring …
I would take the gold medal only because the gold medal is not just for yourself, it's for everybody around the country so it's really bigger than just yourself and your team because it's for everybody around the world. It's bigger than my city, it's bigger than me. It's bigger than Superman.

On memories of the 1992 Dream Team …
I don't remember it. The only thing I got from that Dream Team is a Wheaties box at my house. I'm sorry, I was too young to remember.

On what U.S.A. has to do to win ...
We just got to play the way we know how to play. We got to rebound, we got to run and if we play together and not get caught up in ourselves, we should win the gold medal.

On the team's attitude being different than in 2004 ...
We're trying to play more together as a team. It can't be one person. If we're trying to win, it has to be all of us.

On his popularity growing since All-Star Weekend …
I haven't really thought about it. I'm just trying to be myself and let everybody see it. I'm glad they watched the slam dunk competition. I tried to do by best to represent the big man and I think I did a pretty good job. But now I'm done. I'm retired from the dunk contest.

On new teammate Mickael Pietrus saying he was glad to play with Superman …
I'm happy that people really like to play with me for somebody to say they are glad to play with me is a good feeling.

On breaking Pietrus' nose inadvertently in the past …
If he comes down in the paint in practice, I might have to hit him a couple times. If he plays the right way, I won't have to break his nose again (laughing).

On tight scrimmages against the Select Team …
It was just a lot of fun. We knew that they would come out ready today. We're just trying to get ready and get in better shape so we can run. It's not like we've really played against anybody since the season ended so, we're just trying to get better.

On catching an alley-oop from Dwyane Wade on Wednesday …
It's just fun. I don't see the ball that much, I'm just trying to do my job of playing defense and rebounding.

On playing zone defense …
Being the only center on the court sometimes, you got to be able to talk and lead everybody and be the floor general when you're back there playing the zone defense. But, you know, it's pretty good for me because I get to just stand there in the lane and chill out for a little bit.





Dwight Howard's comments on July 22, 2008 PERMALINK

On playing against Turkey and Magic teammate Hedo Turkoglu …
I can't wait to play against Turkey, only because of Hedo. My coaches asked me to send a message to Hedo so I'm going to do a good job of trying to hurt him … (I'm not really going to hurt him). But I can't wait.

On day two of training camp …
It was a pretty good practice, everything went well. It was a lot of fun. We're just trying to get our defensive scheme down and just play with each other again, we haven't been together in a while.

On the Select Team ...
They played good today. We didn't play as well, but we're going to come back tomorrow and play a lot better.

On his sternum ...
I felt good today. I'm taking it day by day and I'll eventually be ready by the time we start playing.

On practicing his free throws …
I've been shooting all summer. It's just confidence. I'm not really about it too much. I'm just going to keep on shooting and get more comfortable.

On how he's improved …
I think I'm just smarter. I've been playing with a lot of older guys like Carmelo. He's been able to help me out a lot. I'm just trying to get better everyday you know. Take it day by day and learn from these older guys and do whatever I can on the court to help out.

On his touches being limited …
I'm not worried about getting shots. My job is to control the paint. I can get shots up during the season and after practice. Right now my main focus is playing defense and helping these guys out as much as I can.

On being a role player instead of being “the man” like he is in Orlando …
We're trying to play for something bigger than ourselves. It's a gold medal, so, it's not about me trying to go out there and score every time. I just help my teammates out on defense. I'm not really worried about scoring right now. Blocking shots, rebounding and intimidating people – hopefully I can do a good job of that.

On whether or not he reached out to be a member of the 2004 U.S. Men's Senior National Team …
I probably should have, but that's over with now. I'm not really concerned about it. The only thing I can do is do what I can to this year to make my team win.

On how excited he is to play in Macau …
I've been to Macau a couple times so it's a great place to be. I just can't wait to get back over there and start playing.

On the fans in China …
It's different playing overseas. Everybody is expecting me to do something crazy. You know, if you don't do nothing crazy, they don't clap or anything. First time I played over there I was like, “I just did a windmill!” and everybody was just resting their head on their hands. So I'm like, “OK … what do I need to do to get somebody to say, ‘Oooooohhhhh'?” That's just how they are. But, I just can't wait to go over there.

On playing Russia and Australia in Shanghai as a final tune-up before the Olympics …
Hopefully we're going to be on the same page by then. We'll know we got a couple games to play before we get to it so hopefully we can just stay together, stay composed and not lose focus of what we're here to do.





Dwight Howard's comments on July 21, 2008 PERMALINK

On his cracked sternum injury …
It's over with, it's healed and I'm ready to play now.

There's nothing you can do for a cracked sternum. You just got to wait and just let it heal on its own. It's not a bone that you can put some ice on, or stim it or anything, you just got to let it heal on its own.

I couldn't do anything for a while, but it's fine now. I can do anything on the court now. I got my Superman cape under here, so, nothing won't hurt me now.

It happened in the playoffs during the Second Round against Detroit. It was like the third game, it was the same game when I hurt my thumb. I played with it for a couple games and a lot of practices. I really didn't know it was cracked until after the season. It felt like a heart attack a little, but I wanted to win so I tried not to think about it as much as I could. It was bothering me a lot. There was a lot of days of practices and games when I couldn't even lift my arm up. But, I just tried to push through.

I'm fine now. It feels good to be able to play again and knowing that it could have been a lot worse. I just want to take it day by day.

On starting on a 46-day road trip …
I'm just glad to be a part of it. This is my first Olympics and this is step one to get the gold medal. I've been here for three years and now it's time to get that gold.

On the physicality of the practice …
It's always going to be physical when you're playing against the best NBA players. So, that's what we like to see – guys coming out and being very physical. When you play in the Olympics, everybody is going to be very physical against us and they're going to try to get us out of our game. If we play the way we know how to play we're going to be unstoppable.

Today was the first day I played five-on-five since the season so I felt real good out there. I didn't have any problems. I'm looking to get in better shape and I'm just ready to go.

On whether he was surprised when he was there was only three “big men” on the final roster …
No, it didn't surprise me. We really don't need a lot of big men. We have some of the greatest players in the world on our team. We know what we have to do in order to win. We have to control the paint and we got some good guys who can score the ball on offense. I think our main focus is playing good defense.

On the style of offense they'll play …
Up and down. All of us can run. We can beat a lot of teams that way. Instead of trying to slow the ball down and play at the other team's pace, we can run the floor and play like we know how to play.

On the Select Team …
They're NBA players and it's their job to get us ready for the Olympics so we're going to go at them and they've been going at us.

Since I'm almost their age, we've played against each other before. I've seen those guys play a lot. I think they know that this is a time where they can get better, playing against guys like Kobe and LeBron. Those guys have bright futures. We saw a lot of good things from Derrick Rose today. His quickness, his explosion … he's going to be good.

Our goal is to get better. This is our first real practice together since last year, so our goal is to really learn the offensive schemes and also what we need to do on defense. It wasn't about who we're playing against.

On playing Greece in Group B …
Every team is going to be tough. We're not going to look at it as just Greece. Every team we're going to play is going to be very physical and it's going to be a good game.