I had the pleasure of attending the premiere Sunday night of the new Epix documentary “Dwight Howard: In the moment” at the Wortham Center in downtown Houston. The documentary will debut this Wednesday, November 12th, on Epix.
It was a fun night — I got to say it was pretty wild being in this movie theater. It felt like the Houston Rockets were a comic book and I was in their universe. Daryl Morey was in the row behind me, Dwight Howard was a few rows ahead of me and Les Alexander came in and sat down about six seats to my right. I immediately regretted not getting some popcorn sooner as there was no way I was going to make the team owner stand up for me to get by.
Trevor Ariza, Donatas Motiejunas and Clint Capela were a few of the Rocket teammates I saw there, and James Harden made his entrance wearing a straw hat, making me question everything I know about fashion.
Enough about that though — the documentary was quite good. I thought I knew a lot about Dwight, but I still learned quite a bit in this film, especially about his childhood and high school days in Atlanta.
There is also a raw honesty about the film. Dwight doesn’t hold back in confessing that he did go to management in Orlando asking for coach Stan Van Gundy to be fired, which led up to the classic interview where Van Gundy outed Dwight for doing it only to have Dwight show up. Even though I’ve seen it several times, the film does a great job of still making you cringe at this moment.
Dwight also admits that he and Kobe Bryant did not have the right chemistry in Los Angeles. Given some of Kobe’s public comments that are presented in the film, he felt there was no way he could win with the fans there. These were two negatives I thought Dwight would want to avoid, but he tackles them head-on in the film and I have to give him credit for that.
The clear high-point of Dwight’s career, which is focused on in the film, is the 2008-09 Orlando team that Dwight led to the NBA Finals. Dwight talks about how close everyone on the team was, and how they had a great chemistry and a lot of fun together. It then talks about how Dwight got a rude awakening to the business side of the league when they traded away Courtney Lee and then Hedo Turkoglu that very summer. They come full circle to Houston in saying that Dwight is finally back with a team that is close-knit and like a family as that Orlando squad was… of course, only a Rocket fan would catch the irony of this as they pan to a photo of Dwight in a huddle with Marcus Camby, Aaron Brooks, Jeremy Lin and Chandler Parsons as they’re making this claim.
One more thing — I’m very familiar with Dwight’s sense of humor so I usually see it coming, but I must say there was a moment early on in the film where Dwight was talking to a nine-year old boy that had me laughing out loud. It’s a great exchange.
The only criticism I would have is that the film felt a little unfinished simply because Howard’s story is unfinished — significant success in the playoffs with the destination he ultimately chose (Houston) would make this a terrific feel-good story, but that’s unwritten as of yet. But whether you’re a Rocket fan or not, you’re going to enjoy this in-depth look at Dwight’s journey.
Interviews from the Premiere: