Late in the first quarter during Saturday night’s Rockets game against the Atlanta Hawks, Dwight Howard was caught using ‘Stickum,’ an adhesive substance used for a better grip, after Hawks forward Paul Millsap complained about how the ball felt.
Post-game, Millsap told the press, “I’ve never felt the ball like that – ever. It was sticky. It was like Super Glue or something was on there. I couldn’t get it off my hands. It was the weirdest thing ever.” After Millsap made the first of his two free throws, Howard checked into the game and asked referee Monty McCutchen to grab the ball. When the ball was eventually passed back to Millsap for his second attempt, Millsap immediately winced and passed the ball back to the referee. Coach J.B. Bickerstaff removed the cans from the scorer’s table as McCutchen walked over to investigate the rules and ultimately told both benches that “Stickum is illegal in the NBA.”
According to the Houston Chronicle, Howard made a statement insisting that, “I don’t know why people are making a big deal out of it. I do it every game. It’s not a big deal. I ain’t tripping.”
While this is pretty much a non-issue, some people are in fact tripping but not enough to charge Howard with any fines. The implication that Howard was somehow using this substance to cheat has upset him and he addressed the negative press in a statement saying, “I just think that it’s getting overblown, like I’m doing something crazy. But again, I’ve never been a cheater, never been the type of player that has to do something illegal to win. It’s upsetting, but I can’t control it now.” The league office simply made a statement reminding all teams on Monday that the only substances allowed to assist players are drying substances (i.e. chalk or resin).