Thanks to Nike's Most Valuable Puppets advertising campaign, which features puppet versions of LeBron James and Kobe Bryant hanging out together, puppets are on plenty of basketball fans' minds right now. When Dwight Howard led the Orlando Magic past James' Cleveland Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference Finals, a popular joke among Magic fans was that Howard should have his own puppet. That's an impossibility in the advertising world, as Howard endorses adidas, not Nike.
However, that contract didn't prevent some enterprising puppeteers from creating their own Howard puppet, which made its way to media day today at RDV SportsPlex. A reporter presented Howard with the puppet, and the Magic's franchise center proceeded to conduct an interview with himself using the puppet, even voicing the puppet with a humorous falsetto. Across the room, Howard's teammate Rashard Lewis exlaimed, "Are you serious?!" as Dwight mounted the puppet on his hand and began to gab away.
And so, in front of a few dozen assembled media, Howard bantered with his puppet counterpart. He elicited more than a few chuckles. Magic executives Bob Vander Weide and Alex Martins watched with amusement from a second-floor hallway.
What follows is a complete transcript of the interview.
Puppet Dwight: What's up, Dwight?
Dwight Howard: Nothin' much, man. Just chillin' here doin' all these crazy interviews.
Puppet Dwight: Why you gotta do all these interviews? Didn't you just lose in the Finals?
Dwight Howard: Yeah, man. I just lost in the Finals.
Puppet Dwight: How you feel about losin' in the Finals?
Dwight Howard: Well, it hurt. But, you know, we just gonna get better and try to get back there next year.
Puppet Dwight: How you feel about missin' those two free throws [at the end of Game 4] that y'all could have won?
Dwight Howard: Well, you know, some times I miss 'em and sometimes I make 'em.
Puppet Dwight: Are you mad about that?
Dwight Howard: Yeah, I'm mad. But it's over with.
Puppet Dwight: What're you gonna do for next year? Are you gonna work on your free throws?
Dwight Howard: Yeah, I'm gonna work on my free throws. They're gonna get better.
Puppet Dwight: Are you all gonna keep Hedo Turkoglu? Because I really like him.
Dwight Howard: I like him, too. Hopefully we keep Hedo Turkoglu.
Puppet Dwight: And Rashard Lewis? He gon' come back next year?
Dwight Howard: Yeah, Rashard will be back, too.
Puppet Dwight: What about Anthony Johnson?
Dwight Howard: Yeah, I like Anthony.
Puppet Dwight: What about Stan Van Gundy? Do you like Stan Van Gundy?
Dwight Howard: I love Stan, man. Do you like Stan?
Puppet Dwight: I love Stan, man! He helps me get better!
Dwight Howard: I'm out, man.
Puppet Dwight: Alright, man. Y'all have a good day! Peace!
Unfortunately, I do not have video of this exchange, which lasted less than a minute. However, several local news stations had their cameras rolling, so Orlando residents should keep their TVs tuned to the local station of their choice if they hope to see footage.
Later today at 3QC, more from the last media day of the season. I have 40 minutes' worth of Van Gundy quotes through which to pore, which means I'm in for a pleasant afternoon, and I say that in all seriousness. It also means you're due for a post highlighting the best comments later this evening. We've hit the ground running on the offseason already.