Dwight Howard already has his sights set on his post-NBA career.
Howard, a current free agent who spent the last season with the Los Angeles Lakers, was seen at WWE tryouts in Nashville, Tennessee, this week. He also told reporter Arash Markazi that participating in the WWE is something he wants in his future after he's done playing basketball.
"I think it is something that's in my future. I love the WWE. I love wrestling," Howard said. "Hopefully one day in the future, I'll actually be in the ring. ... I've been watching this my whole life and I was like, 'Man, if I had an opportunity to do this, I was going to do it with my whole heart to the best that I can.'"
Dwight Howard at WWE tryouts 👀 pic.twitter.com/jON0Hstgmo
— NBACentral (@TheNBACentral) July 28, 2022
Howard remains committed to playing basketball in 2022, he said, but so far no team has signed the eight-time All-Star and three-time Defensive Player of the Year.
Last year, Howard averaged a career-low 6.2 points and 5.9 rebounds per game in just 16.2 minutes per game for the middling Lakers. He'd be entering his 19th NBA season since he was drafted No. 1 overall by the Orlando Magic in 2004. Regardless of Howard's stats, the big man still believes he has "years left" in his basketball career.
But when that ends, Howard believes he'll be headed to the WWE, which he dubbed "the best business in the world."
He certainly already has the nicknames for it, including "Superman" and "The Daily Double."
Dwight Howard said he would like to play in the NBA next season but is ready to transition and join the WWE if that does not happen. His NBA career began in Orlando and he said he’s open to beginning his WWE career in Orlando where the WWE Performance Center is located. pic.twitter.com/VnT0bA1LCB
— Arash Markazi (@ArashMarkazi) July 28, 2022
Other NBA stars in WWE
While WWE's roster doesn't include any former players, current stars have appeared at various WWE shows.
Atlanta Hawks guard Trae Young famously returned to a Madison Square Garden wrestling event last September following his fiery postseason series with the New York Knicks. Lonzo Ball and LaMelo Ball appeared on "Monday Night Raw" in 2017 with their father, LaVar Ball, back when Lonzo was first drafted by the Lakers and LaMelo was still in high school.
Shaquille O'Neal, who first used the 'Superman" nickname, appeared on WWE three times — twice during his NBA career and once after.
The most famous NBA-centric match featured two-time MVP Karl Malone and WCW's Diamond Dallas Page against Hulk Hogan and Dennis Rodman in 1998. Malone appeared one more time in 2017, while Rodman appeared in other matches during his NBA career.
Howard hopes to be the first former NBA player to officially join the WWE ranks as more than a guest star. He added that he'd love to return to Orlando, Florida, where Howard began his career with the Magic, to begin his second career with the WWE. But time will tell if his NBA days are over.