Outside the realm of the NBA, Dwight Howard is hardly a household name. Just you wait, reports Advertising Age. The 23-year-old star of the Orlando Magic seems to have it all—youth, charisma, eccentricity, character—and advertisers are taking notice. Howard has a ton of endorsement deals already, most notably with Adidas, but he's largely been relegated to supporting roles in ads. Industry insiders think that's about to change.
"We're seeing that transformation now," says a marketer. "He's established himself as a dominant force." Nearly 9 million viewers tuned in to watch Orlando crush LeBron James' championship dreams, and Howard's jersey sales bumped up to No. 6 from 10 in the regular season. As the 7-footer faces the Lakers later tonight, advertisers will be tuning in along with hoops fans.