The Houston Rockets' big man Dwight Howard may have been lured to his new team by an unlikely player, Chandler Parsons.
"I think I had a big impact," said Parsons at USA Basketball's mini-camp. "The first thing [Dwight Howard] said at the press conference was that, 'You guys should thank Chandler Parsons because he is a big reason why I am here.'
"Obviously, he loves the team, [general manager] Daryl Morey, coach [Kevin] McHale and all that. But I think I just gave him that comfort that you got one of your boys here who is also a key part to the team, a young guy. And we can grow on this for a long time," he continued.
Howard and Parsons met when Howard was with the Orlando Magic and Parsons was playing for the University of Florida. Eventually they wound up having the same agent, Yahoo! Sports reported.
"I was just that guy trying to make him feel as comfortable as possible. We have very similar personalities. We are both outgoing. We're always smiling. We like to have fun. I made him really comfortable that he was not only coming to a really good team, but a team with his friends on it," Parsons said.
Parsons said he had a long conversation with Howard at a dinner. The big man was curious about the Rockets and asked lots of questions regarding the team. He felt it would be a good fit.
"I told him how good I thought we could be," he continued. "If you add him with me, James and Jeremy [Lin], Omer Asik … [and] what better coach to play for than a top-50 NBA player of all time in McHale? With 'Dream' (Hakeem Olajuwon), Yao (Ming) and Ralph (Sampson) and all these centers that had success in Houston, I think it was a no-brainer for him."
Howard has embraced his new home of Houston and is trying to be a positive influence and leader to the Rockets as they are an up and coming young team.
"I'm going to do whatever I can to make those guys' lives better," Howard said to the local paper. "I realize how much they mean to this team."