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Latest on Dwight nickname game

11/4/2013

After our four days and two game columns from Houston, found here and here, I suspect you're probably covered for the moment on Dwight Howard coverage from this corner of cyberspace.

Yet there's one leftover from the notebook that we never got to before heading home. And I know there are lots of folks who like to keep track of these things.

Nicknames.

Don't think it's going to sell many T-shirts, but Big Horse is how Rockets coach Kevin McHale is regularly referring to Howard.

And Dwight, for the record, seems to like it.

The way Howard tells it, Orlando teammates used to call him Barbaro early in his career in a tribute to the 2006 Kentucky Derby winner. So it's not exactly new nickname ground.

As for his longstanding Superman tag, Howard was actually asked about that as well by a reporter from abroad after the Rockets' season-opening win over Charlotte. Dwight, for the record, insists that Orlando teammates -- when they weren't calling him Barbaro -- were calling him Superman because of "things they saw me do in the weight room or me jumping over guys in practice."

"I didn't choose Superman," Howard said, hitting on a subject that helped trigger some of the long-running tension between Orlando's No. 1 overall pick in 2005 and the original franchise center in Magic history associated with The Man of Steel: Shaquille O'Neal.

"A lot of people thought I chose that name," Howard continued. "My favorite action hero growing up was [actually] Batman. He could figure out anything."

In the name of trying to cover it all in the NBA ... now you know.