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Friday, November 11, 2011
Josh Howard rooted for Mavs to win title

By Jeff Caplan

In his own way, Josh Howard enjoyed a measure of redemption with former teammates Dirk Nowitzki and Jason Terry, the last remaining Mavs from the 2006 Finals flop.

Howard, who called the controversial timeout in Game 5 of the 2006 Finals in Miami, was in Dallas throughout the 2011 Finals and although he didn't attend any games at the American Airlines Center, he said he was rooting for the Mavs to knock off the Heat.

"To see those guys do that was great, especially for Dirk," Howard said. "Ultimately, I’m a fan of the game. I was happy for them."

Terry, who will serve as coach of Howard's White Team in Saturday's Josh Howard Celebrity All-Star Game at the Cobb Athletic Complex at Fair Park, celebrated with Howard after the Finals, and assistant coach Darrell Armstrong visited Howard as his Dallas home.

Howard's career in Dallas turned into a love-hate scenario with the organization and the fans. A young, burgeoning All-Star became unhinged and a string of strange behavior off the court mixed with injuries on it finally led Mavs owner Mark Cuban, who defended Howard to the end, trade him to the Washington Wizards in February 2010.

Now 31 and a free-agent, Howard is seeking a fresh start with another team.

"That stuff that happened back then is in the past," Howard said. "You can’t change it. You have to learn from it. Shoot, it’s life, you have to just keep moving forward."

And Howard keeps coming back to Dallas. In many ways, he never left. He still lives in Dallas to be close to his 3-year-old son Bryson, whom Howard said looks more like he's 5 or 6 and is a definite southpaw. Howard has continued to hold events for his Josh Howard Foundation in Dallas, of which Saturday's game is one.

On the roster and expected to play is Portland Trail Blazers forward LaMarcus Aldridge, a Seagoville native.

"I have such good memories here and it’s just a blessing to still come back here and people love me for who I am," Howard said. "I never considered Dallas a place that I would stop coming to after I got traded. I still love it here.

"And," he said, "the weather’s great."