Los Angeles Lakers center Dwight Howard recently opened up about the passing of Laker legend Kobe Bryant, including how the Black Mamba had agreed to assist him in the Dunk Contest later this month. Just days before the tragic helicopter crash, Howard had encouraged Laker nation to help him in convincing Kobe to be a part of his dunk contest performance.

Following the Lakers' 129-102 victory over the San Antonio Spurs on Tuesday night, Howard explained how he received word prior to the fatal crash that Kobe had indeed intended to help. 

The 34-year old center headlined some of the most memorable Dunk Contest competitions against Nate Robinson during a three-year run from 2007-09, including a championship in 2008. It has been over a decade since he last competed but he believes he's in the best shape of his career and more than capable of putting on a show at the United Center on February 15th.

"I just felt like I'm in the best shape I've been in my whole career," Howard said. "So why not go out there and give it, give it 135 percent, and see what happens?"

"What am I excited about? Just being in the atmosphere," he said. "It's been a long time. I got some pretty good dunks, things ready to go. Just can't wait to get out there, enjoy the atmosphere and try to put on a great show for all our fans. Try to make this 2020 dunk contest the best ever."