Rockets' Howard accused of shoplifting
By JONATHAN FEIGEN
Copyright 2006 Houston Chronicle
Houston Rockets forward Juwan Howard was accused Wednesday of shoplifting a $2,000 pair of sunglasses from a Miami-area optical store.
Miami police are investigating the claim, but no charges have been filed and Howard has denied any wrongdoing.
"I'm aware of the situation and have spoken to my attorney," Howard said in a statement. "I will vigorously defend myself and (I) am confident I'll be cleared of these baseless charges."
The owner of Eye Q Optical in South Beach told Miami TV stations that he has a surveillance tape showing Howard take a pair of sunglasses, though he has not allowed media outlets see the tape.
"We are aware and will continue to monitor the situation," Rockets spokesman Nelson Luis said. "We understand Juwan is cooperating fully and is proclaiming his innocence."
Howard, 33, a 12-year NBA veteran, played the past two seasons with the Rockets and has three seasons (including one at his option) remaining on a six-year, $36.9 million contract he signed with the Orlando Magic.