Jersey Monday: Juwan Howard

As I write this, the Miami Heat are facing the Washington Wizards, in a game they really need to win. So which jersey in my collection connects these two teams? Juwan Howard, of course.

I bought this jersey at the then-Fleet Center before a Wizards-Celtics game during the first season in which the Wizards were the Wizards. They'd previously been the Bullets (and I kind of wish I'd hung on to my one pre-name-change Washington jersey), and while I think the name change was a downgrade, the jersey change was an upgrade, at least from the horrible red unis Washington had been wearing in the final years of the Bullets era.

At the time I bought this jersey, Howard was part of a young, talented frontcourt for Washington, along with Michigan teammate Chris Webber, former Indiana star Calbert Cheaney and a then-unknown Ben Wallace. He was also just a couple years removed from a free agent bidding war between the Bullets and Heat. Howard originally signed with Miami, but his contract was voided by the league and he returned to Washington.

Fast forward 14 years and Howard is finally a member of the Heat. He was signed this summer as kind of an afterthought, a 12th or 13th man on a stacked roster. But with the injury to Udonis Haslem along with the ineffectiveness of some other Miami big men, Howard is actually playing significant minutes -- which could help to explain why the Heat are 9-8 entering tonight's game (though the suckitude of LeBron, Wade and Bosh explains it a lot more).

Jersey Monday will continue every Monday until I run out of jerseys to spotlight. And since I’ve got more than 150 of them, that could be awhile.