Howard agitated over 'cheater' claims


Dwight Howard is speaking out about his controversial use of Stickum, the grip-enhancing adhesive that is commonly used by athletes but is illegal in the NBA.

The Houston Rockets centre said things are being taken out of proportion after he admitted to using the spray on his hands during Saturday's loss to the Atlanta Hawks, with referee Monty McCutchen ordering the bottle to be removed from the sidelines.

"I just think it's getting overblown, like I'm doing something crazy," Howard said Monday, via the Houston Chronicle.

"I've never been a cheater. I've never been the type of player that has to do something illegal to win. It's upsetting."

NBA rules, as they pertain to Stickum-like substances, read: "All equipment used must be appropriate for basketball. Equipment that is unnatural and designed to increase a player's height or reach, or to gain an advantage, shall not be used."

Grip-improving substances, like powder or liquid rosin, are commonly used by players to prevent sweating.

Howard said he is not doing anything he has not done in the past -- or that other players are not doing.

"I've been using the spray for the last five years," he said.

"I've never hid the spray. I never did anything to try to hide what I was doing. It was something to make my hands dry. Some players use powder. Some players use other stuff that's put up on the table.

"I didn't think I was doing anything illegal or trying to gain advantage against my opponent. Some guys use different techniques. Some guys use the stuff we put our feet on, the Slipp-nott stuff."

Rockets interim coach J.B. Bickerstaff agreed with his player.

"It's in plain sight for three years. No one has said anything," he said. 

"He hasn't run to the back, to the locker room, and tried to trick anyone. It was never brought to our attention. No one said anything to us about it.

"You can go back and watch every single one of his games in the past three years and it's there. We were obviously surprised by the attention it has drawn."