Josh Howard Reminisces on the 2005-06 Dallas Mavericks
Drafted in 2003 by the Mavs, Josh Howard was arguably the Dallas Mavericks second best player in the mid-2000s and was named an NBA All-Star in 2007. He played an important role on the team, often being relied upon to get the team’s scoring started in first quarter and was eventually nicknamed “The Party Starter” by former Maverick and longtime teammate Jason Terry.
Howard, along with Terry, was essential in bridging the gap from the Big Three Era of Nowitzki, Nash, and Finley into the team that eventually won the 2011 NBA title (the year after Howard was included in a trade deadline deal that brought Caron Butler, DeShawn Stevenson, and Brendan Haywood to the Mavericks).
While suiting up for the Mavericks from 2003 to 2010, Howard was present and heavily involved in some significant moments in Mavericks history, including the disappointing memories from the 2006 and 2007 teams.
While discussing the 2007 team’s mentality after the 2006 NBA Finals, Howard described the team’s approach during a highly successful 67-win regular season before ultimately succumbing to a red-hot Warriors team that had given the Mavs some headaches for a couple of years leading up to that point.
“We couldn’t be feeling sorry for ourselves and wanting the NBA World feeling sorry for ourselves,” Howard said. “So we definitely had to come out and make a statement… letting everybody know we were hungry and wanted to get back to where we were the previous year. Unfortunately, you know, we ran into a hot ass Golden State team.
Howard acknowledged the Warriors’ success against the Mavericks in the 2006 and 2007 regular season may have contributed to the Mavericks’ mindset leading up to the playoff series.
“I think a little bit of that doubt crept in because they matched up well with us,” he said. “That was, I think, the first time a team played small ball against us.”
He also provided his thoughts on a few other memorable moments and events that occurred during and after his Mavericks tenure.
On the opening night 2003 “Trash Bag” jerseys and facing an LA Lakers team which included Shaq, Karl Malone, and Gary Payton: “One of the ugliest fashion statements, let alone worst butt-whoopings I ever took coming into the NBA.”
On the controversy surrounding 2006 Finals: “I learned as the years went by just to deal with it… from all the play calls, to the fouls, to the timeout, it’s all a part of the game.”
On coming back to Dallas as a visiting player with the Utah Jazz in the lockout-shortened 2011-12 NBA Season: “It was definitely different to be in the visitor’s locker room. If I could do it again I wish I was in the home locker room. [I wanted to] accept that challenge and enjoy the atmosphere. I think a lot of people had basically forgot about me because I got hurt and had to sit out a year.”
Throughout our conversation, it was obvious Howard cherished his time in Dallas. Today, Howard is the head basketball coach at Piedmont International University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. He also runs the Josh Howard Foundation, an organization dedicated to improving the quality of life of economically challenged communities with programs that focus on academic performance, community outreach, and sports and fitness training.
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