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NBA veteran Dwight Howard to play for Taiwan team

Dwight Howard NBA

FILE–Former Los Angeles Lakers center Dwight Howard. Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images/AFP

Eight-time NBA All-Star Dwight Howard has sealed a deal to play for a team in Taiwan and the 36-year-old center will make his debut next week.

“I am so excited. I can’t wait to touch down in Taiwan and start playing,” Howard said in a video on the Facebook page of his new team the Taoyuan Leopards.

“I can’t wait to see the fans, eat the food and have the best time ever, and bring the championship for Taoyuan city.”

Howard was an eight-time All-Star in his 18 seasons in the NBA and won a championship with the Los Angeles Lakers in the pandemic-hit 2019-2020 season.

He became a free agent after playing for the Lakers in the 2021-2022 season.

Last season he averaged 6.2 points and 5.9 rebounds a game for the Lakers.

The Taoyuan Leopards in northern Taiwan will hold a press conference on Saturday to formally introduce Howard before his debut the following weekend, the team said on Facebook.

#園力豹發 #魔獸降臨「真·魔獸降臨!」桃園永豐雲豹職業籃球隊今天(8日)宣佈,邀請NBA巨星「魔獸」霍華德(Dwight Howard)加盟,正式成為雲豹一份子,總經理蘇翊傑說:「我們會邀請霍華德加盟的主因,不但要將雲豹打造成為全臺灣禁區最強球隊,歡迎大家來挑戰,更希望能幫助國內籃球水準往上提升,注入更強的熱情及共同創造更好的環境。」霍華德今天早上也將透過社群媒體,表達將來臺加盟雲豹的消息,他說:「這次很高興能夠加入桃園雲豹,我已經迫不及待想和你們見面,我很期待見到我的隊友們,我們球場見!」他本週抵台後將先休息,桃園永豐雲豹球團預計於12日正式為他召開加盟記者會,隨後展開調整與練球,不會隨球隊移動到臺南參與客場比賽,19日下午4點半雲豹在國立體育大學體育館的主場首戰,霍華德將會正式亮相。魔獸身高208公分、體重120公斤,是美國職籃NBA最佳中鋒,曾奪得5次籃板王、2次阻攻王,並拿下3次年度最佳防守球員,更是明星賽常客,在禁區威力仍不容小覷。蘇翊傑表示,霍華德加盟後,將與上一季T1聯盟阻攻王戴維斯(Deyonta Davis)組成最強禁區雙塔,也期待他能夠將經驗、觀念與技術,傳授給隊上年輕球員,並幫助球隊奪得今年總冠軍。#桃園永豐雲豹職業籃球隊 #桃園永豐雲豹 #豹達桃園 #園力豹發 #taoyuanleopards #t1league #特有種 #魔獸 #DwightHoward

Posted by 桃園雲豹職業籃球隊 Taoyuan Leopards on Monday, November 7, 2022

“We hope he can pass on his experience, concept and skills to younger players in the team and help our team win this year’s championship,” the team said.

Basketball and baseball are the two most popular sports in Taiwan and have professional leagues drawing large crowds.

The Leopards are among six teams in the T1 league established last year, the youngest of the island’s three professional leagues.

The team did not provide details of its deal with Howard.

“I am ready to enjoy life by playing the sport I love in front of a bunch of people that love me,” Howard said in a video on Instagram.


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