By Bosmat Eynav
One recent night after a Lakers game a panel on the post-game Time-Warner television show discussed the fact Dwight Howard smiles a lot.
It was mentioned that previous great Lakers centers Wilt Chamberlain, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Shaquille O’Neal were more serious.
I guess in this season when the Lakers are struggling everything is open for discussion.
What is all the fuss about Howard’s smile? Why can’t people let him be? Now all this talk has wiped the smile off Dwight’s face. Are you all satisfied?
Claims that it is unprofessional to smile on the court seem mean and shallow, especially in light of his illustrious past.
Howard is a seven-time All-Star, six-time all-NBA selection, five-time all-defensive member and three-time defensive Player of the Year. He also ranks high in rebounds and field goal percentage.
And let’s not forget he was the center on the United States team that won the championship in the 2008 Olympics..
He is having a free throw meltdown so bad that other teams are using it as their strategy, especially in crucial moments to intentionally foul him.
They count on him to miss and sadly, most often he does not disappoint in that regard. Yet his spirit remains positive.
Instead of sulking and throwing a fit he offers a humble smile. This releases endorphins and makes him feel better.
This makes him not less professional but more so. His strength is outwardly and comes from a higher authority than the NBA.
We all know the feeling of failure and too often the tendency to contract and shut down. When we are losing a smile is the last thing we can muster.
So all you naysayers back off, let the man play. If there is a finger to point it is to Lakers management who must help him over this hump.
Train him on land, in the water, on the sand until he is back where he belongs, making free throws with a big smile on his face.
Also to the Lakers players. Even though you lose your spirit has noticeably improved lately. Use Dwight more. He is a great asset so please rely on him.
Perhaps take a tip from him. Learn to smile through the pain. Unnerve your opponents with big smiles.
Now there’s a strategy.
Nike Schwartz contributed to this article