Dwight Howard isn’t a fan of the circus. That’s because while the Orlando Magic centre might be a laughing, joking clown off the court, his intent off it is deadly serious, as he reveals in an exclusive interview in the new issue of MVP Magazine.

It’s a championship or bust, the three-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year, admits. But despite the Magic’s lengthy odds to win their first title in June, don’t expect Howard to be bolting for the door. Or to feed the rumour mill that he is seeking a destination elsewhere.

In MVP's one-to-one with the five-time All-Star, he admits that he wants to avoid the same unrestrained trade talk which engulfed his Team USA running mates LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony and became a distracting sideshow.  

“I have two years until my contract is up,” Howard said. “And the biggest thing I want is that the fans don’t get concerned about what’s happening down the road. Because it takes away from what we’re trying to accomplish.

“My only purpose here is to win a championship in Orlando. I love the city and I want to do the best I can. I haven’t thought about the possibility of playing anywhere else right now.”

The faithful in South Florida will hope the Magic confound the odds this post-season but, facing elimination, they must overturn a 3-1 deficit in their first round series with the Atlantic Hawks, starting with Game 5 on Tuesday night. Howard concedes that too many, himself included, took success for granted when Orlando reached the 2009 Finals, only to be brushed aside by the Los Angeles Lakers.

Look at Michael Jordan, he says. He had more seasons in the NBA where he ended up without a title than those where he was lighting up a celebratory cigar.

“It’s hard for people to understand that,” Howard asserts.

“Once you don’t get back the next year, it’s regarded as a failure. Being on the winning team is great. But it’s tough.”

Read the full interview with Dwight Howard in the new issue of MVP Magazine. Available to buy now online – and in branches of WH Smith nationwide from May 5 – priced only £3.50.

(Main Photo: Fernando Medina/NBAE via Getty)

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