Basketball: Dwight Howard hits back at Karim Abdul-Jabbar over "low IQ" claims

Houston Rockets centre Dwight Howard smiles after he was called for a foul during action against the New Orleans Pelicans in a preseason NBA game on Oct 5, 2013 at Toyota Center in Houston, Texas. Howard responded to Hall of Famer Kareem Ab
Houston Rockets centre Dwight Howard smiles after he was called for a foul during action against the New Orleans Pelicans in a preseason NBA game on Oct 5, 2013 at Toyota Center in Houston, Texas. Howard responded to Hall of Famer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's criticism that he does not have a high enough basketball IQ to be a great player. -- PHOTO: AFP

NEW YORK (REUTERS) - Houston Rockets centre Dwight Howard responded to Hall of Famer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's criticism that he does not have a high enough basketball IQ to be a great player.

"Dwight is an extraordinary athlete and has incredible athletic ability, but basketball is a game where the most important muscle that you use on the court is the one between your ears," former LA Lakers great Abdul-Jabbar said on ESPN's "First Take" show on Thursday. "Dwight's basketball IQ is not up to speed for him to be a dominant player."

Howard, who signed with the Rockets this summer after one forgettable season with the Los Angeles Lakers, defended himself.

"You can't win three Defensive Player of the Year trophies and be stupid. That can't be done," he told the Houston Chronicle. "And I don't think any coach that has ever coached me has said I have a low IQ for basketball.

"Have I done some dumb stuff on the floor? Yes, every player has. Have I done some stupid things in life? Yes, it's life. We make mistakes and learn from them. It is what it is.

"I think I am very intelligent when it comes to the game of basketball. I have been playing since I was three years old. Each year, I get a little smarter.

"People will have something to say. It is what it is. I'm in (Houston) now. This city has my back and we are going to ride together."