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Dwight Howard says it’s always been his goal is to play 20 NBA seasons

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In the midst of his 11th NBA season, Dwight Howard says it is his hope that he can hang around long enough — and remain healthy enough — to achieve what few NBA players have accomplished: Play 20 seasons.

The Houston Rockets center stated his career longevity goal on Wednesday, a day when he played against Tim Duncan, one of NBA’s elder statesman, who at 38 is in his 18th season in the Association.

“That’s always been my goal- to play 20 years in the league so I think it can be done,” said Howard, via the Houston Chronicle. “It would be great. Tim is still playing great basketball. He has migrated to different spots on the floor instead of just the post.”

Howard has enjoyed relative health throughout his career, save for his last year with the Orlando Magic (2011-12), when a herniated disk in his back that required surgery limited him to only 54 games. An injury issue popped up again this season for Howard, when knee issues caused him to miss 26 consecutive games.

Howard cited Kareem Abdul Jabbar as an inspiration for his long-term career goals.

“When you play that long, you get an opportunity to do a lot of different things,” said Howard, 29. “God willing, I will play this game as long as I can. It brings a lot of joy to myself and to other people around me. Hopefully I can continue to play at a high level. To see Kareem do the things he did was amazing. Also, to see Tim and the way he is still playing, we have to make sure we take care of our bodies. The staff here has done a great job of helping me with that.”

It will obviously be a tall order for Howard to achieve his aspiration to play 20 NBA seasons. After all, only four players have managed to play for that long: Robert Parish (21), Kevin Willis (21), Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (20) and Kevin Garnett, who is in his 20th season with presumably at least one more to come.

Still, it’s a good goal to have. Some luck and good fortune will be required, but where there’s a will — and a healthy body — there’s often a way.

[H/T Pro Basketball Talk, image credit: Getty]