Dwight Howard has some big shoes to fill as a member of the Houston Rockets. When he assumes the starting center position with the team this fall, he will join an elite group of centers who have patrolled the paint in H-Town. That group includes Yao Ming, Ralph Sampson, and, of course, Hakeem Olajuwon.

So recently, the Houston Chronicle did something pretty cool by bringing all four of those men together for a roundtable to talk about what it means to play center in the NBA. And they each offered up some interesting insights into the importance of the center position. Here are a few of the roundtable's highlights:

  • Howard: "It takes a special person to be the center. It's a fun position to play, but it's a position to lead by example."
  • Olajuwon: "The center can change games, dictate the outcome of the games. No position is more important to the team than the center position."
  • Yao: "Sometimes you want to do something different…It might be boring, but you like the feeling of being the biggest, most dominant guy on the court. You can command the game right there."
  • Sampson: "You got to have somebody in the post. You have no choice."

You can check out the rest of the Rockets' roundtable over here. As you'll see, Howard isn't just joining the Rockets next season; he's joining a fraternity of big men who took a lot of pride in playing the center position the right way.

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[via Houston Chronicle]