Dwight Howard?s outgoing personality has helped him become one of the most likable athletes in the world.
His popularity was fully displayed on Tuesday as his fans flocked to the Florida Mall to watch him help launch the official NBA Shop at Champs Sports. The four-time All-Star worked the register and helped fans choose from the wide assortment of exclusive Adidas NBA apparel the NBA Shop has to offer. It was a chance for Howard to help the league that has catapulted him to fame, but more importantly a chance for him to interact with his fans.
?For all of these people to come, shows me how much support we have and how the Magic have grown since we started,? Howard said. ?I?m happy to be a part of it.?
The 24-year-old superstar genuinely loves meeting and greeting his fans. He had his chance on Tuesday as approximately 500 fans stood shoulder to shoulder inside the store waiting to get a glimpse of Champs Sports? newest and tallest employee.
Adidas, Champs Sports and the NBA partnered together in Feb. 2010 to launch the official NBA Shop at Champs Sports. The shop has debuted in 69 stores nationally and will be in the remaining 486 Champs stores by the start of the 2010-11 NBA season.
Howard didn?t disappoint as he gave high-fives and fist bumps to everyone within reach of his massive wingspan. He showcased his charisma with jokes and his trademark impressions. Some of the fans in attendance were surprised at how easygoing Howard truly is. But the truth is, off the court Howard is just as ordinary as the next guy.
?I?m a real person and that?s what you want people to know,? Howard said. ?I try to show people another side of me. It?s not always about putting the ball in the basket; it?s about winning the hearts of people.?
Giving fans the opportunity to meet someone they idolize is a big deal to Howard. As a young man he didn?t have the chance to meet anyone that he looked up to. He understands that giving some of his time can have a positive impact on many people.
?I?ve always wanted to meet someone that I looked up to,? Howard said. ?Wilt Chamberlin and Kevin Garnett were people I wanted to meet but never had an opportunity. I know how the fans feel when they see someone they idolize see on TV and magazines. I want to show them I?m not on a different level where I can?t be touched; I can be touched.?
The love Howard received from the fans will fuel him for the upcoming playoffs. The Magic currently have the NBA?s third-best record and look to be peaking at the right time. Howard loves to play for the fans and looks forward to giving them something to be excited about.