The most decorated rebounders in NBA history welcomed a new member on Friday night. With his first rebound against the Orlando Magic — the team that drafted him No. 1 overall in 2004 — Dwight Howard passed Nate Thurmond for 10th place among the league’s all-time rebounding leaders. He trails ninth-place Kevin Garnett by fewer than 200 boards.
Howard accomplished the feat in his 18th season, propelled by the dominance he imposed early he in his career after entering the league straight from high school. The 6-foot-10 big man owns five rebounding titles in addition to eight All-Star honors, eight All-NBA selections, five All-Defensive nods, three Defensive Player of the Year awards, and two blocks titles.
The 36-year-old Howard enjoyed the bulk of those accolades as a young superstar in Orlando, a stretch that featured a trip to the 2009 Finals against the same Lakers franchise he plays for now, and with which he won a championship in 2020.
Los Angeles is hoping Howard can provide a similar spark now, starting him for just the 10th time this season as the team seeks to steady what has been an inconsistent season. The Lakers entered Friday night with a 22-23 record, good for eighth place in the Western Conference.