"Dallas will always be my home, and it still is,'' Josh tells me moments after he sat out injured while his Washington team lost, 102-92, Monday at the AAC. "I still live here. I'm going to always live here.''
J-Ho's Big D devotion might come as a surprise to some, given the way he exited. Howard's final seasons in Dallas were controversial ones that came to an end last February when he was shipped to Washington in a deal that brought Dallas the threesome of Caron Butler, Brendan Haywood and DeShawn Stevenson. His slide in the eyes of Dallas management and fans came after a lackluster performance in the 2007-08 playoffs, when in Round 1 against the Hornets he conducted a radio interview to explain his pot smoking and then later, in an exit interview with DallasBasketball.com, explained why he missed so many shots.
"You can't control what the ball do, man!'' he told me "Y'all crazy!''
Unfortunately for Josh, injuries have been even more beyond his control.
He's been unable to contribute to the Wizards' efforts to fix their awful season (the loss in Dallas dropped them to 13-34) due to a balky left knee, a carryover from him having torn the anterior cruciate ligament in that knee last season. He underwent surgery but the results haven't been positive enough, as he's played in just a dozen of the 79 games he's been in the Wiz employ.
"I'd like to be playing, believe me,'' Josh said. "It'll be OK. It's just tendonitis. I'll be back in like two weeks.''
After the game, J-Ho – dressed in a black suit with matching black tennis shoes – was surrounded by a group of well-wishers that included Beaubois and Josh's mother, Nancy Henderson.
As Josh mentioned his mother's presence, she approached us and introduced herself.
"My mom lives in Florida and my grandma's in North Carolina, which is also my home as long as my grandma is still kickin','' Josh told me. "But Dallas is my home. I love Dallas.''