Dwight Howard returns to Lakers and makes some obscure history

ByJames Jackson ESPN logo
Tuesday, August 3, 2021

How do you rejoin an old team of familiar faces and create a club of one at the same time?

Eight-time All-Star Dwight Howard can tell you how. The likely future Hall of Famer will reportedly return to the Los Angeles Lakers for a third stint. Howard won his first career NBA title in 2019-20 after six seasons away from the team.

Last season, Howard averaged a career-low 7.0 points and 8.4 rebounds in 69 appearances with the Philadelphia 76ers. He has played for seven teams over his 17-year career.

When announcing his decision on Instagram, Howard expressed a desire to properly celebrate the next championship celebration.

There is also an element of history for Howard's third tour in purple and gold.

According to Elias Sports Bureau, he will be the first player in NBA history to spend three different stints on a team he was named an All-Star with. Howard joins Devin Harris (Dallas Mavericks) as the only All-Star to play three different stints for any one team.

Howard won't be the only familiar face on the Lakers' roster next season. Los Angeles is also reportedly bringing back Trevor Ariza, Wayne Ellington and Kent Bazemore. If each player suits up for the Lakers at least once next season, Los Angeles would be the third team over the last 40 years to return four players who each previously played for them.

The 2019-20 Houston Rockets and 2012-13 New York Knicks are the others.

Following the team's first-round playoff elimination last season against the Phoenix Suns, Lakers fans will hope Howard's third Hollywood visit can bring some charm next season: an NBA-record 18th championship.

ESPN Stats and Information contributed to this story.