The man of many imitations suddenly felt a loss for words.
Lakers center Dwight Howard has relished any chance he has to imitate Kobe Bryant’s serious demeanor. Howard shared it at his introductory press conference. He continued last week when he appeared on “Ellen.” During the 2008 Olympics, Howard often mimicked the Lakers star on the team bus and in the locker room. On cue, Howard often has mimicked Stan Van Gundy’s high-shrieked yell, Charles Barkley’s enunciation of the word “Turrible,” and Shaquille O’Neal’s monotone voice.
But these voice imitations apparently don’t emerge over night. So just like his ongoing rehab with his back surgery, Howard highlighted no time table on when he’d start imitating his other Laker teammates beyond Bryant. At an appearance Monday night at Time Warner Cable Sportsnet’s launch party, Howard even passed up the chance to provide his Pau Gasol impersonation.
“I do need some rehearsal time for him,” Howard said. “He’s pretty tough. Once I get him down pat, I think it’s going to be a lot of laughs. Everybody is going to go crazy. I want to do it on the Jumbotron one day so the whole arena can see.”
So with Howard in need of a research process, here are a few notes on some of the candidates:
Gasol: The two perfectly imitate each other well on the court with their mastery of pick-and-roll and efficiency in the post. But Howard could also imitate Gasol’s mannerisms. To do so, Howard would need to always speak in a polite and pleasant tone. Howard must also speak diplomatically, whether it’s about the team’s play or his want to have more looks in the post. If Howard can quickly learn Spanish in the next few weeks, he’ll receive bonus points.
Mike Brown: Howard imitated Brown’s facial expression by showing off his immaculate teeth. But this could become more spectacular than his Van Gundy squeal. Howard needs to perfect Brown’s hearty laugh. Whenever he talks, Howard should open his mouth as wide as possible and overly enunciate every word. And the subject matter remains easy. If Howard sticks to strictly X’s and O’s, the imitation could sound exactly like the Lakers’ head coach.
Steve Nash: The Lakers point guard seems pretty low key. But as indicated by his numerous film parodies, Nash also has a goofy side. To fully maximize his Nash imitation, Howard should basically poke fun at Nash’s spoofs. Howard could emulate Nash’s Batman where he mimicks Christian Bale’s husky voice. Howard should stuff grapes in his mouth and imitate Nash’s verson of Vito Corleone from “The Godfather.” Howard could have his own light saber battle where he proclaims as Darth Vader to be Nash’s father. With Nash planning to further tap into film parodies, these possibilities remain endless.
Metta World Peace: The Lakers’ eccentric forward will give Howard plenty of material. Perhaps too much. See, World Peace thrives on remaining quotable and saying weird things. He makes it more amusing at times because he deadpans it in a soft voice that hardly fits his persona as a physical defender. Imitating World Peace will have far less to do with actually capturing his voice and more to do with Howard’s willingness to repeat the weird things World Peace says. Howard seems comfortable in his own skin. But this may be pushing it.
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