Former NBA star Dwight Howard received a fanfare welcome after touching down in Taiwan on Thursday to begin his stint playing for one of its T-1 League teams.
“My goal is to put smiles on people [sic] faces all across the world & spread positivity so being able to play the sport I love while accomplishing that goal is a blessing,” Howard, nicknamed “Superman,” wrote in an Instagram post on Thursday.
Howard recently transferred from the NBA – where he last played for the Los Angeles Lakers in the 2021-2022 season – to Taiwan’s T-1 League to play for the Taoyuan Leopards.
The Leopards is one of the league’s six teams. The other teams include the Kaohsiung Aquas, the New Taipei CTBC DEA, the Taichung Suns, the Tainan TSG GhostHawks and the TaiwanBeer HeroBears.
“Taiwan, this is Dwight Howard aka Superman,” the basketball player said in a video posted by his new team on Instagram on Tuesday. “I am so, so excited, and I can’t wait to touch down in Taiwan and start playing for the Taoyuan City Leopards.”
Although he has previously traveled to Taiwan in 2005, 2010 and 2013, his recent trip marks his first time flying there to play for a professional Taiwanese basketball team.
Speaking to reporters on Tuesday, Taoyuan Leopards general manager Bret Su revealed that Howard, an eight-time All-NBA Team honoree and three-time Defensive Player of the Year, will receive a historically high monthly salary of $200,000 during the playing season, or over $1 million annually. His reported monthly salary would be more than the $20,000 limit set by the league for foreign players.
In his last season in the NBA with the Los Angeles Lakers in 2021, Howard averaged 6.2 points and 5.9 rebounds in 60 games as a reserve.
Howard is expected to make his first public appearance as a Taoyuan Leopards player at a press conference on Saturday.