Throwback Thursday - Juwan Howard
Juwan Antonio Howard, born February 7, 1973, currently serves as an assistant coach for the Miami Heat. Howard formerly played for the Heat from 2010 until 2013. A one-time All-Star and one-time All-NBA power forward, he began his NBA career as the fifth overall pick in the 1994 NBA draft, selected by the Washington Bullets. Before he was drafted, he starred as an All-American on the Michigan Wolverines men's basketball team. At Michigan he was part of the Fab Five recruiting class of 1991 that reached the finals of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Men's Division I Basketball Championship in 1992 and 1993. Howard won his first NBA championship with Miami in the 2012 NBA Finals and his second NBA championship in the 2013 NBA Finals.
Howard was an All-American center and an honors student at Chicago Vocational Career Academy. Michigan was able to sign him early over numerous competing offers and then convince others in his recruiting class to join him. The Fab Five, which included Chris Webber, Jalen Rose, Jimmy King and Ray Jackson, served as regular starters during their freshman and sophomore years for the 1991–92 and 1992–93 Wolverines. Howard was the last member of the Fab Five to remain active as a professional basketball player. Although many of the Wolverines' accomplishments from 1992 to 1998 were forfeited due to the University of Michigan basketball scandal, which involved booster payments to players to launder money from illegal gambling, Howard's 1993–94 All-American season continues to be recognized.
Howard has played six-and-a-half seasons (1994–2001) for the Bullets franchise (renamed the Wizards in 1997), three full seasons (2004–07) for the Houston Rockets, two plus seasons for the Heat and shorter stints for several other teams. During his rookie year with the Bullets, he became the first player to graduate on time with his class after leaving college early to play in the NBA. After one season as an All-Rookie player and a second as an All-Star and an All-NBA performer, he became the first NBA player to sign a $100 million contract. While he continued to be a productive starter, he was never again selected to play in an All-Star Game. Towards the end of his contract, he was traded at the NBA trade deadline twice to make salary cap room. He was most recently a regular starter during the 2005–06 NBA season. In 2010, he signed with the Heat and entered his 17th NBA season, during which he reached the playoffs for the sixth time and made his first career NBA Finals appearance. He remained with the Heat the following season and won his first NBA championship during the 2012 NBA Finals. He returned to the Heat for part of the following season, and won a second championship. Howard has developed a reputation as a humanitarian for his civic commitment.