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Dwight Howard Pads Stats For A Cause

Monday, 13 Apr 2009 | 8:49 AM ET

Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard is averaging a double-double this season, with 20.7 points and nearly 14 rebounds a game. It’s not only good for statistical reasons, it’s also good for a charitable cause, as every time Howard gets a double-double, Wrigley’s and its Doublemint brand donate $250 to PCA America, an organization that prevents child abuse.

It might be only $250 to a guy who will make $4.8 million this year, but the 23-year-old doesn’t take the chance at making a difference with each game lightly.

“If I need a couple more rebounds to get a double-double in a game, I can convince coach (Stan Van Gundy) to leave me in,” Howard said.

How does he know how many rebounds he has when it’s not listed on the arena scoreboard?

“Every timeout the Polish Hammer tells me,” Howard says, referring to the Magic’s backup center Marcin Gortat. “He always knows how many more I need.”

Throughout the month of April, Wrigley’s is asking fans to make a donation for each double-double in the NBA. Based on a chart provided on the donation Web site, a five-cent pledge per double-double would be about a $10 donation, based on the average double-doubles scored each month.

On another note, the last time I interviewed Howard, he was a senior in high school and he came off as very shy. I asked him how he has suddenly become one of the most lively guys in the league.

“I was in a shell,” Howard said. “I was afraid to open to the media. But anyone who was in school with me knew I was the class clown. I’d be telling jokes all day long.”

Howard’s opening up has certainly helped him in the endorsement world. He has deals with adidas, Vitaminwater , McDonald’s and T-Mobile.

Questions? Comments? SportsBiz@cnbc.com

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