ORLANDO -- Dwight Howard was saying nice things about his time with the Orlando Magic, throwing out appreciation and kindness in equal doses, when the unexpected happened.
Teammate Metta World Peace hijacked his media session after the Lakers’ Tuesday morning shoot-around.
World Peace saw the dozens of reporters and army of TV cameras and, uh, interview-bombed the whole thing.
“I’ve got to get some of this TV time. All these cameras,” World Peace said, smiling as he fought through a crowded semicircle and sat next to Howard for a bit on the scorer’s table.
World Peace then asked for some help.
“Follow me on Twitter,” he said. “Follow Dwight. I need a million followers.”
Howard’s doing fine in that category with almost 3.9 million followers. World Peace had 540,462 as of Tuesday morning.
Howard was pleasant while chatting about his return to the city where he spent his first eight NBA seasons. The Lakers play the Magic on Tuesday night.
“We had a lot of great memories here and that will never be taken away from me,” Howard said. “We did a lot of great things. I saw a city go from a team with just, like, nobody in the stands to a new arena and a packed house every night to see our team play. It was great to see that. Our goal was to get people to come and support us and we did that.”
Howard irked Magic fans by asking for a trade, then appearing to rescind his request, only to ask again for a trade that was finally granted last August. He was shipped to the Lakers in a four-team deal.
The Lakers (33-31) have steadied somewhat since an incredibly turbulent start, going 16-6 after bottoming out with a loss in Memphis in late January to move into position to squeek into the playoffs.
“We don’t have to do anything extra. Just play the way we’ve been playing the last couple of games and come out of here with a win,” Howard said.
The Magic is a lowly 18-46 but beat the Lakers in December, 113-103, at Staples Center.