Dwight Howard of the Orlando Magic won his second straight NBA defensive player of the year award today, but refused to accept it at a scheduled press conference. "Nah. No thank you," said Howard. "And who are you to give me an award? You don't know me."
The All-Star center said that he appreciated the defensive honor, but reiterated that he wanted nothing to do with it.
"People try to give me stuff all the time, but you have to question their intentions," said Howard. "So I take this award and then what? What are they going to ask for in return? You don't know. You don't. Somebody in my position, I have to look out for me. I have to protect me."
Teammates say that Howard was even more defensive this year than he was during the 2008-2009 season.
"He snaps at everything now," said guard J.J. Redick. "You tell him: 'Hey, man, great shot.' And he just scowls at you. He always feels like we are attacking him, even with a legitimate compliment. Like we were surprised he made a shot or something."
Those who knew Howard in high school say he wasn't always so defensive.
"Dwight was always a very warm, fun kid to be around," said his high school coach, Bill Jacobs. "Yet a ferocious defender."
Howard bristled at the comments from his former coach.
"I notice he didn't compliment my offense," said Howard. "See? This is the kind of thing I'm talking about. That's why I can't ever let my guard down."
He's the Jud Buechler of jumping over women.
The Boston Celtics plan to appeal the NBA's decision to suspend forward Kevin Garnett for one game for his part in a fracas in the closing moments of Boston's Game 1 opening round playoff victory over the Miami Heat.
"He elbowed Quentin Richardson right in the face," said Celtics head coach Doc Rivers. "The NBA can't let something like that go with just a slap on the wrist, am I right? Also, Kevin Garnett is a complete dick and he's not fun to be around. At all. He makes all of us dread coming to work every day. I was hoping the NBA would suspend him for the remainder of the playoffs."
Garnett averaged the worst numbers of his career this year 14.3 points and 7.3 rebounds since his rookie season 14 years ago, and Rivers would happily replace them with someone else if he had the option.
"I am pretty much obligated to play Kevin," he said. "But it wouldn't be hard to replace his production. However, it would be hard to replace his attitude, which is basically him thinking he is some sort of mix between Michael Jordan and General Patton. And that's great. I wouldn't want to replace that. I hate that. I hate everything about it."
While Stu Jackson, the NBA's punishment deputy, says the suspension is final, the Celtics plan to send additional information to the league in hopes of extending the suspension.
Among the package is clip after clip of Garnett screaming over inconsequential plays in regular season games, pretty much every interview he has ever done, and never-before-seen tapes from Boston practices in which Garnett makes a ball boy cry, as well as Glen Davis and Brian Scalabrine.
But Jackson says even all of that likely won't sway him.
"If being a total asshole merited suspension, most professional sports teams wouldn't be able to field a complete team," he said.
There's the pick, now where's the roll?