Dwight Howard is still plenty confident in himself.
The former NBA center believes he was better in his prime than two-time Most Valuable Player Nikola Jokić is now for the Denver Nuggets.
“I don’t want people to think that I’m trying to hate even comparing, but I’m going to take myself,” Howard told Complex.
“I know how dominant I was and I know what I could do with my skills.”
Jokić led the Nuggets to the 2023 NBA title and has become one of the most dominant players in the league.
Nevertheless, Howard was quite a force during his NBA career, especially at his peak.
And the eight-time All-Star believes his talent down the middle would still translate well in today’s game.
Though he never won an MVP, the 6-foot-10 Howard was an All-NBA selection eight times and was on the All-Defensive squad five times.
Howard, 37, also spent led the league in blocks twice and paced the NBA in rebounds five times.
Despite those accolades and accomplishments, Howard was left off the list for the NBA’s 75th Anniversary team.
“Because I’m getting old,” Howard said about people forgetting his prime. “But I know that in my prime, it’s a wrap. It’s a wrap … I’m Dwight Howard. I know what I’ve done in this league … all-time centers, I’m top 10.”
But in the current in NBA, Jokić’s offensive stats are hard to compete against and his playmaking abilities helped win Denver a championship.
The 28-year-old averaged 24.5 points, 11.8 rebounds and 9.8 assists while shooting 63.2 percent from the field in 2022-23.
But Howard said there’s a reason Jokić has the points numbers that he’s attained.
“Obviously, people going to say Jokić can score. He got all those offensive skills,” Howard said. “I’m not getting a lot of post-up attempts like Jokić. He’s getting way more opportunities.”
Howard’s defensive game was a staple to his effectiveness, especially when he and the Los Angeles Lakers went head-to-head with Jokić and the Nuggets in the 2020 Western Conference finals.
The Lakers pulled away with a 4-1 series win en route to securing a title in the Florida bubble.
After the 2021-22 season and 18 years in the league, Howard joined the Taoyuan Leopards of the T1 League in Taiwan, where he was asked to take a pay cut after missing time.
But even though Howard has been away from the NBA, he said he would still be able to help teams this coming season.
“I know that there’s at least 15 to 20 teams that I could play for,” Howard told Complex. “And I know there’s teams that got great starting centers, but I know I could be a great backup center.”