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Dwight Howard says he left Lakers because he had to do what was right for Dwight

Oct 16, 2013, 11:24 AM EDT

Dwight Howard AP

Personally, I’ve moved on from what Dwight Howard did last summer. What I want to know is if he has grown from two years of turbulence around him (turbulence largely caused by him), if he is healthy, if he can take the steps he needs to if he plans to lead Houston to a title. I will add this: It’s been just a few preseason games but he is moving well and playing with an edge we have not seen from him in a while.

Still, his past lingers.

He forced his way out of Orlando and burned bridges, only to land in Los Angeles where he didn’t get along with Kobe Bryant and was frustrated that management hired Mike D’Antoni over Phil Jackson (it’s the one thing Howard and Lakers fans largely agreed on).

Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel asked Howard about all those moves and his public perception, and Howard said he had to do what made him happy.

“Everybody’s saying I was a ‘coward’ for leaving [the Lakers], and I knew I was going to get that,” Howard said Tuesday. “But I think with the situation I had to do what was best for Dwight.

“I know when I wanted to leave Orlando, and I decided to stay, I wasn’t happy on the inside. I wanted to please everybody else and ended up hurting a lot of people by doing it the way I did. So, this time it’s like I had a second chance.

“I said, ‘You know what? People are going to hate me for whatever reason, so I can’t allow that to stop me from making my decision.’ I thought that my decision took a lot of guts because everybody’s saying, ‘How could you leave the Lakers and six billion fans?’ But I don’t care about being an outcast or about being somebody that may look bad. All I’ve got to do is win now, and I’m in the right situation.”

Howard went on to say he had “no regrets” about how things ultimately turned out in Orlando.

As I’ve said before, winning cures a lot of ills in American society. Howard’s image was bad, but so were the images of Kobe Bryant and LeBron James at points. I’m not sure that Kobe ever cared what others thought but LeBron was able to mature and move past it, then both led their respective teams to multiple titles. With that they won over the casual fans and earned begrudging respect from their critics.

It will be the same with Howard. Win and he can really sell he made the right basketball move, he can rehab that image. But to win he’s going to have to overcome the kind of adversity that he has shied away from in the past, he’s going to have to adapt his game to fit the team and not be about himself. Do that and the Rockets can win.

Do that and Howard will have showed he matured.

  1. misremembered72 - Oct 16, 2013 at 11:47 AM

    Howard has recently complained that Tobias Harris took his jersey number 12 on the Magic… This is why i hate Dwight Howard.

    I dont think i need to explain how much of an immature diva Howard is if he’s still trying to demand respect from an organization he personally tried to dismantle.

    I wonder if Howard ever went to college if he’d still be this oblivious to the reactions of his own decisions.

    • 00maltliquor - Oct 16, 2013 at 11:55 AM

      Please point me to the direction of the article from which you read that from. That’s sooo crazy I find that hard to believe. Even for Howard.

  2. 00maltliquor - Oct 16, 2013 at 11:53 AM

    You know how sometimes you post a comment on here and days later it finally shows up for others to see?……That’s what happened here with this article, except it took two months! LOL

  3. themars211 - Oct 16, 2013 at 12:17 PM

    This guy really had the nerves to complain. Here is the link to the article about Howard complaining about the Magic not retiring his number….smdh

    http://www.slamonline.com/online/nba/2013/10/dwight-howard-upset-the-orlando-magic-didnt-retire-his-jersey-number/

    • 00maltliquor - Oct 16, 2013 at 1:15 PM

      Wooooooowww…

      I stand corrected. smdh what a _____.

    • abchome - Oct 16, 2013 at 6:14 PM

      Wow! That’s really stupid.

  4. gmsingh123 - Oct 16, 2013 at 12:32 PM

    Dwight’s a big fat liar. He left L.A. because he couldn’t get the coach fired this time. He’s the most disruptive player in basketball.

  5. philyeagles5 - Oct 16, 2013 at 12:41 PM

    Did he even want to be a Laker in the first place? Anyone who doesn’t want to be told their role by Kobe can’t plays for the Lakers. That’s why softie Pau fits in so well.

  6. ambitoos - Oct 16, 2013 at 1:42 PM

    I’m just glad he’s gone. We don’t need the drama he brings.

  7. edwardemanuelson - Oct 16, 2013 at 2:13 PM

    It’ll be retired in 15 years, when he’s retired.

    Isn’t there generally a grace period on retiring numbers, give or take? Surely, he didn’t think they were going to be retiring it anytime last season, or while he’s still active right? He couldn’t possibly be that out of touch, could he?

    • eugenesaxe1 - Oct 16, 2013 at 8:16 PM

      Of course he’s out of touch. Dude really needs to have his mouth sewn shut, every time he opens it more stupidity falls out.

  8. daddyghi - Oct 16, 2013 at 3:02 PM

    if winning a championship will fix all the fiasco, then he has a tough climb ahead of him…

  9. mrharper21 - Oct 16, 2013 at 3:24 PM

    Alright enough of the Lakers/Dwight Howard thing. It’s over. Who gives a f* why he left anymore. It’s obvious by his recent pics, he’s more worried about making people laugh then winning championships……

  10. ji8888 - Oct 16, 2013 at 5:03 PM

    Man this guy will have a whole bunch of teams wanting to kick the Rockets @ss now. I hope the Rockets fail so bad. That would be justice for everyone and fan he’s been shady to.

  11. mackcarrington - Oct 16, 2013 at 5:48 PM

    I Iive in L.A. and I’m totally over the Howard situation.
    But reading that he “was upset” about his old jersey number being given away?
    Did he really think they were going to retire it? What did he win in Orlando?
    No this guy is NOT mature, and he is a whiny crybaby diva. Is he kidding with that?
    I don’t hate him but I have come to realize that he is fraudulent. A good basketball player, but a fraudulent human being.

    • mydoghasfleez - Oct 17, 2013 at 12:19 PM

      He “can be” a good player, but rarely is.

  12. chargerdillon - Oct 16, 2013 at 6:03 PM

    Still talking about the Magic and the Lakers? Dwight is one thing…..

    S O F T

  13. antistratfordian - Oct 16, 2013 at 6:33 PM

    One of the hardest things to learn in life is to stop worrying so much about what people think of you – genuinely. It doesn’t generally happen for celebrities until they’re about 40. So good on Dwight for wrapping his head around that sooner. It’s a happier place to be in.

    • lhollis74 - Oct 16, 2013 at 11:38 PM

      Anti, you are right, but I don’t believe what he has to say. I believe he is untrustworthy. Lets go back to the very day he signed the extension with Orlando before leaving less than a year later. In that very moment do you think he didnt have magic management believing he really would like to stay? I’m betting he said a lot of things smiling that made magic management feel good at that particular moment only to prove to be less than truthful.
      Lets think back to his meeting with Kupchak and the Lakers. I’m inclined to believe he conveyed a desire to be the Lakers next big star all the while smiling as he conspired to use his relationship with Kobe and a down year for the organization to be an excuse to escape the pressure of Los Angeles and its refusal to tolerate mediocrity.

      There have been many many players throughout the history of the NBA who don’t want any pressure, just want to have fun, and prefer strip clubs and loose women to winning championships and hard work, it just so happens that they rarely are All Star talent!

  14. foreverbeachflorida - Oct 16, 2013 at 8:26 PM

    Dwight who? Can say that now, and bet your life they’ll be saying it 50 years from now. A zero speck in nba history. No championships, no scoring titles, no love from anyone, no hall of fame. Make book on it.

  15. Anoesis - Oct 17, 2013 at 12:19 AM

    “… I had to do what was best for Dwight.”

    This is all you need to know about Howard. He wanted out of Orlando no matter what it took. Since he couldn’t find a way to get to New York, his preferred destination, he was willing to lie to another club in order to leave the Magic.

    When the Lakers didn’t bend to his every whim he chose to dump them, too. It will always be what is best for Dwight. Not what is best for an organization, not what is best for his teammates, but what is best for Dwight.

    Perhaps there will be fans with first-hand knowledge of the way he operates who will be willing to forgive his underhanded machinations, but not many. There is a difference between players who have made mistakes (whether personal or professional) and worked hard to redeem themselves, and players who have made it abundantly clear that the only thing they care about is themselves.

    Howard has played for two organizations in the NBA and has lied through his teeth to both of them. For the sake of the Houston organization, and its fans, I hope they are the first team he doesn’t throw under the bus.

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