Howard: Shaq can be Superman

There's room on the planet for two Men of Steel, Dwight Howard says.

The Orlando Magic center, who has recently been verbally sparring with Shaquille O'Neal, said Sunday before the All-Star Game that there's no battle with Shaq over who is more deserving of the "Superman" nickname.

Last week, after O'Neal's Cleveland Cavaliers' beat the Magic, Shaq said he was "offended" to be compared to Howard. "You tell me who the real Superman is," he said.

Howard was surprised by the comments and didn't take kindly to them at the time.

"It didn't sit well with me personally," he said. "I'm a young player trying to get to where he's at. I felt it would be better if he tried to help me instead of trying to put me down."

But on Sunday, in an interview with TNT, Howard said he had no issues with O'Neal.

"I don't have any problems against him," Howard said when asked if he would still reach out to O'Neal as a potential mentor. "The whole Superman thing, there's no battle of nicknames. I mean, if he wants to be Superman, he can be Superman. But I never tried to steal that title from him or take away anything that he's done for the game of basketball.

"I would like, instead of people fighting over a nickname, for us to be able to talk about what it's like to win a championship. Just little things that him being who he is can help me," Howard said on TNT. "But I never tried to do anything to be like him. I'm my own person. I just love to have fun, and I have a lot of respect for him and what he's brought to the game of basketball, and I would just ask that somebody like Shaquille O'Neal to help me become a better basketball player and a better person."

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.