The first person to dunk on Dwight Howard this season is HBO's John Oliver

Dwight Howard has yet to play for the Wizards, but he’s already been dunked on in D.C., thanks to John Oliver. (HBO screen shot)

He hasn’t played a game for the Washington Wizards yet, but newly minted D.C. denizen Dwight Howard found himself injected into the political arena on Sunday night, thanks to John Oliver. The veteran center might’ve preferred to stay out of this one, though.

On the latest episode of his HBO talk show, “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver,” the comedian set out to discuss the somewhat dry, very complicated and even more important topic of trade — and specifically, the “trade war” fostered by President Donald Trump through the use of tariffs on imported goods that has had a significant impact on American workers. As an entry point to his lighthearted approach to a heavy-duty issue, Oliver — no stranger to digging in and goofing off on NBA-related issues — chose to warm up by dunking on the District’s newest big man:

“Our main story tonight concerns trade, the basic system of barter and exchange that you have to do really carefully, or you’ll end up with Dwight Howard. Seriously, parents, talk to your children about trade. You don’t want them going to school with pizza Lunchables and coming home with Dwight Howard. You think he’s going to add a 3-point shot to his game now, kids? Grow up.”

Dang. While one suspects that a comedic craftsman as consummate as Howard at least appreciates the construction of a good piece of business, that’s still pretty harsh!

It remains pretty remarkable that Howard, who just a half-decade ago was coming off a run of eight consecutive All-NBA selections, has now become the sort of player who plays for four teams in four seasons, who gets shipped out in salary-dump deals in consecutive summers, and who gets used as a legitimate punchline outside the context of Basketball Twitter. (Although Oliver’s writing staff clearly includes some folks who are very familiar with that world and its context; here’s where we note that the bags on Dwight’s shoulders in the image used during the bit are marked “snakes” and “Skittles.”)

After a rough few seasons, Howard’s aiming to revive his career with the Wizards, hoping to help John Wall and Bradley Beal lead Washington back into contention for a deep postseason run. A big year could also help resuscitate Howard’s public image in the broader popular culture, and maybe put him on the path to appearing on HBO in a brand of comedy with which he’s more comfortable … namely, in re-airings of “The Three Stooges,” in which Howard had a brief cameo. (Of course he did.)

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Dan Devine is a writer and editor for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter!

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