The NBA season has not even come close to ending and Dwight Howard already has his sites set on something else. While USA Basketball does not even have a coach set yet for the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janerio, they already have a player volunteering to join. The Los Angeles Lakers center expressed interest in playing on an Olympic Team again.
Howard does have Olympic experience. He played on the 2008 Beijing Games where the U.S. took home the gold. He was expected to play for the U.S. during the 2012 London Games but ended up missing out due to the fact he was recovering from back surgery. Now he is setting his sites on getting back into the Olympics in 2016.
Howard simply said "no doubt" when asked if he was interested in playing. He was not happy back surgery kept him out of earning back-to-back gold medals like his Lakers teammate Kobe Bryant did.
"I was pissed off. I was made I couldn't play in the playoffs. I as mad I couldn't play in the Olympics. I was pissed. I was looking forward to going to London. I was looking forward to making a big run in the playoffs last season, so I wasn't too happy about the fact that I had to have surgery and miss a lot of basketball," Howard said.
By the time the 2016 Games roll around, Howard will be 30-years old. He was not the only big NBA player to miss out on the London Games due to injury. Blake Griffin, Chris Bosh and LaMarcus Aldridge were all unable to compete due to surgery. Andrew Bynum and Lamar Odom failed to become finalists for the team.
Howard says he has maintained a good relationship with USA Basketball managing director Jerry Colangelo. Howard was offered an invitation to play with USA Basketball by Colangelo prior to him injuring his back in 2012.
"He's cool with me. He's always been someone that I've thought highly of and he's always supported me," Howard said.
Colangelo will be tasked with filling the USA basketball roster for Rio de Janeiro, as well as finding a new coach for the team. Former head coach Mike Krzyzewski informed ESPN Radio that he will no longer assume coaching duties for Team USA.
Howard enjoyed his time with Kryzyzewski and is sad to see him end his run with the team. Howard said he has no idea who will be the next coach to take his place, but right now his only focus is getting into the playoffs with the Lakers.