Los Angeles Lakers center Dwight Howard, who will embark on his second stint with the Lakers after signing as a free agent this summer, is talking about a taxing offseason in which he says he hit “rock bottom”.
“It didn’t have anything to do with basketball,” Howard said, according to ESPN’s Dave McMenamin. “It was just stuff going [on] in my personal life. Mentally, physically and spiritually. It had nothing to do with me as a basketball player or anything like that. It was just personal things that I had to deal with which made me stronger.”
Howard, 33, will have to work hard to repair his image in Los Angeles after a rather tumultuous first run during the 2012-2013 season when the team was marred by infighting, and ended with Howard spurning the Lakers to ink a free agent deal with the Houston Rockets.
“I never had any ill will toward any of the fans here in L.A.,” Howard said. “I loved this city from the first moment I’ve been here and started playing in the NBA. It was never nothing against anybody here [on] the team or anything like that, it was just a decision I made. I love this city. I love playing in L.A. I’m back here, so none of that stuff in the past even really matters to me anymore. I think we all have a fresh start.”
“It’s been six years, in 2020 it’ll be seven years. … I’m big on numbers. Seven is for new beginnings … I’m looking forward to having a fresh start with the fans and stuff like that. Show them my only dedication is to putting another banner up here in Los Angeles.”
Howard not only has to repair his reputation with the Lakers organization and their fans, but also the NBA, as he has developed a not-so-stellar reputation throughout his career as he has bounced around the league in recent years.
“This summer was very important to me as an individual,” Howard continued. “Got a chance to really isolate myself. Not from people but just really isolate, really try to get alone and become one with myself and become more balanced. This summer was really, really important for me.”
“Everybody here wants to win, and I want to win, too,” Howard said. “It wasn’t about selling myself. It was just letting them know everything I’m about, and what we’re trying to accomplish.”