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American professional basketball player Dwight Howard began playing with the Los Angeles Lakers in 2012. Prior to that, he was a star with the Orlando Magic.
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Dwight David Howard Jr. was born in Atlanta, Georgia on December 8, 1985. A high school standout at Southwest Atlanta Christian Academy, Dwight Howard elected to forgo college and declared himself eligible for the NBA Draft, where he was selected first overall by the Orlando Magic. He became an instant driver of the franchise's success, winning several awards for scoring, rebounding and defensive play. After seven seasons as a star in Orlando, in 2012, Howard was traded to the Los Angeles Lakers.
Born in Atlanta, Georgia on December 8, 1985, Dwight David Howard Jr., was a sports lover at an early age. His father, Dwight Howard Sr., is an athletic director, and his mother, Sheryl, played on the inaugural women's basketball team at Atlanta's Morris Brown College. Devoutly religious as a child, Howard dreamed of becoming a No. 1 pick in the NBA Draft.
Howard attended high school at the Southwest Atlanta Christian Academy, a school known nationwide for its basketball power. During his senior year, Howard led his team to win the 2004 state championship, which they had lost the previous year. Several awards raised national awareness of his status as a high school standout, including the 2004 Naismith Award, and the Gatorade National Player of the Year and McDonald's National High School Player of the Year awards. Additionally, he was named to Parade magazine's "All-American Team" list.
Like his idol, Kevin Garnett, after whom he modeled his shooting and ball-handling skills, Howard chose to forgo a college education, and declared himself eligible for the 2004 NBA Draft.
At age 18, Howard was selected first overall by the Orlando Magic in the NBA Draft, realizing a childhood dream. While young in age, his size and skills on the court made an immediate impact on Orlando's goals. During his first year in the league, he became a leading rebounder, scored more than 20 points in 11 games, and became the first player in NBA history to start in all 82 games as a rookie fresh out of high school.
By his third pro season, Howard would make his first NBA All-Star appearance as a reserve on the 2007 Eastern Conference squad. He went on to become a six-time NBA All-Star, six-time All-NBA Team selection, five-time All-Defensive Team member and three-time Defensive Player of the Year—the youngest player ever to win that honor—while playing for the Magic. The gifted player led Orlando to three division titles and one conference title.
In 2008, Howard was an integral part of the gold medal-winning Olympic basketball team at the Olympic Summer Games in Beijing. In 2012, after seven seasons as a star with the Orlando Magic, Howard was traded to the top-tier Los Angeles Lakers.
Howard has not been shy about sharing his love of basketball with young people. He established the Dwight D. Howard Foundation to provide scholarships for underprivileged children who want to attend his alma mater, the Southwest Atlanta Christian Academy.
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