Dwight Howard played a mean prank on his mom about his free agency decision

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Dwight Howard never tires of reminding the world that he's a "fun" guy. The irony is that it's just this type of incessant, transparent need to be liked and thought of as fun that has turned folks off from him over the years. People can sense when things like that are contrived or coming from a place of neediness or insecurity.

Howard, however, has always insisted that he's just being himself. The only problem is that the persona he keeps putting forward doesn't have the ring of authenticity. See those alligator tears at his introductory press conference with the Hawks as a case in point. Speaking of tears, Howard recently admitting to making his mother cry this summer by playing a joke on her about his free agency decision. Via James Herbert of CBS Sports:

"I played a prank on my mom," Howard said on the Doug Gottlieb Show on CBS Sports Radio on Monday. "I wanted to see her reaction, so I told her, I said, 'Mom, I just got this big contract, $150 million.' And she was like, 'Oh my God, from who?' I said, 'Utah Jazz,' and she started crying. And I said, 'Mom, sorry, I was just joking, I'm coming home to Atlanta.' And then she was super happy and my family was super excited."

We all know Howard loves a good prank, whether that entails him mercilessly crop-dusting his teammates during practice or punching them in the crotch unsuspectingly while they're sitting on the bench minding their own business. The fact that he made his mom break down in tears is just a perfect example of how his "jokes" often have the exact opposite effect from what he intended.

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Dwight Howard through his career
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Dwight Howard through his career
Houston Rockets' Dwight Howard during the first half of the NBA basketball game against the New York Knicks, Sunday, Nov. 29, 2015 in New York. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
Dwight Howard is pictured in the gym of Southwest Atlanta Christian Academy in Atlanta as fellow players on his team wait for basketball practice to begin Wednesday, Feb.11, 2004. Howard, a senior, is being scouted by the NBA. (AP Photo/John Amis)
Dwight Howard, 18, right, smiles as his father Dwight Howard, Sr., who is also athletic director at at Southwest Atlanta Christian Academy, looks on during a news conference at the school in Atlanta Wednesday, April 4, 2004. The 6-foot-10 forward announced Wednesday that he will enter the NBA draft, where he is projected as a lottery pick. (AP Photo/John Amis)
Dwight Howard, center, from Atlanta Southwest Christian Academy, and the first pick in Thursday's NBA Draft, is presented a jersey by Orlando Magic general manager John Weisbrod, left, and coach Johnny Davis at the team's practice facility in Orlando, Fla., Friday, June 25, 2004. (AP Photo/Peter Cosgrove)
Orlando Magic forward Dwight Howard (12) works his way around Atlanta Hawks forward Jason Collier, left, during the first quarter Friday, Nov. 26, 2004, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Gregory Smith)
Orlando Magic's Dwight Howard, center, dunks the ball as Chicago Bulls defenders Eddy Curry, left, and Chris Duhon, right, look on during the first quarter Saturday, Jan. 1, 2005, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
Orlando Magic guard Steve Francis hugs teammate Dwight Howard after beating the New Jersey Nets, 103-102, Saturday night, April 2, 2005 in East Rutherford, N.J. Francis led all scorers with 33 points and Howard chipped in 15. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)
Dwight Howard of the Orlando Magic takes a shot during the USA men's senior national basketball practice at the Cox pavilion in Las Vegas on Friday, July 21, 2006. Greg Oden and Dwight Howard aren't old enough to gamble, so this Vegas trip is all about business. The two most talented American big men under 21 are in camp with the U.S. national team, soaking up lessons in international play and professionalism. By Greg Beacham. (AP Photo/Isaac Brekken)
USA's Dwight Howard (12) dunks during the semifinals against Greece of the World Basketball Championships in Saitama, Japan, Friday, Sept. 1, 2006. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard (12) smiles against the Golden State Warriors during the final seconds of overtime of an NBA basketball game on Monday, Dec. 3, 2007, in Oakland, Calif. The Magic won 123-117 in overtime. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
Wearing a Superman costume, Orlando Magic forward Dwight Howard soars toward the basket in the basketball slam dunk contest Saturday, Feb. 16, 2008, at the NBA All Star Weekend in New Orleans. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard shows his Superman pose after being presented with the Slam Dunk Champion trophy before their NBA basketball game against the Philadelphia 76ers in Orlando, Fla., Friday, Feb. 22, 2008. Howard won the Slam Dunk contest during the recent NBA All-Star Game Weekend. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)
Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard, right, tries to push his way past Phoenix Suns center Channing Frye during the second half of an NBA basketball game in Orlando, Fla., Wednesday, Nov. 4, 2009. Orlando won 122-100. (AP Photo/John Raoux)
Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard goes in for a dunk in the first half in Game 5 of the NBA Eastern Conference basketball finals against the Boston Celtics in Orlando, Fla., Wednesday, May 26, 2010. Orlando won 113-92.(AP Photo/John Raoux)
Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard speaks with media at a news conference after he was presented with the 2010-11 NBA defensive basketball player of the year award in Orlando, Fla., Monday, April 18, 2011. Howard is the first player to win the award in three straight seasons.(AP Photo/John Raoux)
Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard (12) dunks over Milwaukee Bucks forward Jon Brockman during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Orlando, Fla., Wednesday, Jan. 5, 2011. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)
Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard warms up prior to an NBA basketball game against the New Orleans Hornets in Orlando, Fla., Friday, Feb. 11, 2011.(AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)
A fan holds a sign in the stands as Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard, left, leaves the court after an NBA basketball game against the Miami Heat in Orlando, Fla., Tuesday, March 13, 2012.(AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)
Los Angeles Lakers center Dwight Howard, at the NBA basketball team's media day at team headquarters in El Segundo, Calif., Monday, Oct. 1, 2012. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon)
Sacramento Kings point guard Tyreke Evans (13) shoots as Los Angeles Lakers center Dwight Howard (12) defends during the first half of their preseason NBA basketball game, Sunday, Oct. 21, 2012, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Dwight Howard of the Los Angeles Lakers smiles before the NBA All-Star basketball game Sunday, Feb. 17, 2013, in Houston. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
NBA Houston Rockets' star Dwight Howard admires a new Adidas shoe bearing his name during a media event in Taipei, Taiwan, Monday, Aug. 19, 2013. Howard is in Taiwan on the second leg of his Asian promotional tour which includes South Korea, Hong Kong and China. (AP Photo/Wally Santana)
Houston Rockets center Dwight Howard poses for a photographer during NBA basketball media day Friday, Sept. 27, 2013, in Houston. Howard signed with the Rockets in the offseason. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
Houston Rockets' Dwight Howard (12) tries to maintain control of the ball under pressure from Minnesota Timberwolves' Nikola Pekovic in the second half of an NBA basketball game Saturday, Nov. 23, 2013, in Houston. The Rockets won 112-101. (AP Photo/Pat Sullivan)
Houston Rockets' Dwight Howard lines up a free throw in the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Los Angeles Lakers, Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2014, in Houston. The Rockets won 113-99. (AP Photo/Pat Sullivan)
Houston Rockets center Dwight Howard, left, and guard James Harden reacts after Howard was called for a technical foul during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Los Angeles Lakers, Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2014, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Houston Rockets center Dwight Howard, right, looks to pass the ball as Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant, center, defends and guard Trevor Ariza looks on during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Tuesday, Oct. 28, 2014, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
FILE - In this Jan. 12, 2015, file photo, Houston Rockets' Dwight Howard (12) reacts to a no-call after going to the basket against the Brooklyn Nets during the second quarter of an NBA basketball game in New York. Howard almost always wears a huge smile and is quick to crack a joke. But Houston's star center knows he's a polarizing figure that many people hate. (AP Photo/Jason DeCrow)
Houston Rockets' Dwight Howard holds up his name before being photographed during an NBA basketball media day Monday, Sept. 28, 2015, in Houston. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
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