Houston Rockets center Dwight Howard has insisted that he is “still a champion” even after his team’s loss to the Golden State Warriors in the Western Conference Finals.
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The Rockets eventually saw their season end on Wednesday night as the Warriors sealed a 4-1 series win to advance to face the Cleveland Cavaliers in the NBA Finals 2015.
It was a disappointing end to the campaign for Houston especially after their thrilling comeback against the Los Angeles Clippers in the last round, and they had seemingly built a roster capable of going all the way.
As well as Howard and guard James Harden, coach Kevin McHale had a strong team full of experience with the likes of Jason Terry and Cory Brewer, but it wasn’t enough to overcome the No.1 seed in the West.
“It’s tough, but I won’t stop fighting,” Howard said, Pro Basketball Talk reported.
“I’m going to continue to push myself to the limit and remember that, no matter how he season ends, I’m still a champion. And I won’t let anyone tell me anything different.”
Howard has faced significant criticism over the years over his mentality and commitment to win a championship. After taking the Orlando Magic to the Finals in 2009, he had a failed move to the Los Angeles Lakers before landing in Houston.
However, regardless of where he goes it doesn’t appear that he is able to take the next big step in his career to end his wait for a championship, and ultimately he isn’t considered a champion by many, if any.
While he certainly played a key role for the Rockets in the playoffs, it wasn’t enough to get them over the line and they will now be forced to regroup and come again next year.