[When Dwight Howard was a kid, he used to watch old basketball training tapes of Magic Johnson, then run outside and practice those techniques so feverishly, it's like he knew when he started ballin' at age 3 that he was working out for his future in the NBA.
But when Howard had the chance to meet the real Magic at age 15, it took only seven words to make Howard take his workouts even more seriously.
Those words? You'll never make it in the NBA.
That right, when Howard met the man who used to inspire him to play basketball as a kid, Magic Johnson actually told the teenage center that he didn't have what it took to take his game to the ultimate level.
"He said I was too skinny," Howard told me while we kicked back at the Ritz Carlton in downtown Los Angeles. Howard was there to introduce the new "adidas miCoach" fitness game, a product where gamers will learn training techniques from pros like Howard and Josh Smith in order to help them increase their vertical leap, strengthen their core and build muscles using Howard's own tried-and-tested pushup routine so Hall of Famers don't look at you and call you "too skinny..."
Jon Robinson: Why should gamers put down their controllers and stop shooting each other in "Call of Duty" in order to work out with you in "adidas miCoach"?
Dwight Howard: I don't want to say that they have to put those games down just to play this game, but it's important for kids to play "miCoach" for 20 to 30 minutes to help get in shape. A lot of kids are like me -- I'm not going to lie, I sit around with my friends and play "Call of Duty" all the time, but we're just sitting around and being lazy. But if you could put it down for just 20 to 30 minutes a day and train, you can get in shape. We have a problem with that in America. And since we can't get the kids outside anymore, since we can't get adults out to a facility, now we're going into their world, the virtual world, to train them....
Jon Robinson: The "miCoach" game doesn't come out until 2012, but I was just wondering, as a fat, married and unmotivated gamer, how are you going to motivate me to get moving?
Dwight Howard: The first thing is believing in yourself and believing that you can go to another level in training. We can always be better and get better. For myself, I want to get stronger. People say I'm too strong, but I still want to get stronger, and when it comes to basketball, I want to become a better player. I want to become a better shooter and a better post-up player, so I keep working out to get better. If you're looking for motivation to get in shape, I'll just tell you to do it for your kids so they can have someone to look up to. If they see their dad training hard to try and get in great shape, they'll want to do it too] emphasis added