Dwight Howard: “I Never Wanted Anybody to Hate Me”

Dwight Howard held the basketball world ransom for the last year after asking to be traded from the Orlando Magic. While the trade request was nothing foreign, we see it in the league every single season, Howard proceeded to opt-in to another season midway through the 2011-12 season despite being so earnest to leave town.

Still, Howard ultimately was granted his request after he was traded from the Magic to the Los Angeles Lakers early last month.

In a recent interview with ESPN’s Ric Bucher, Howard talked about the entire trade saga, his ultimate departure from Orlando. Howard stated multiple times that he doesn’t regret how he handled things, but that he’s eager to move forward. When asked about why he opted-in for another season in Orlando, Howard states that he simply wanted the fans to like him.

“I never wanted anybody to hate me, you know. I wanted everybody to love me, you know, like me, for sticking around and doing what they wanted me to do. And making everybody else happy. And that was a valuable lesson for me, you know.”

Howard talked about how hard it has been to come back from the injury that has sidelined him since last spring’s post-season. This was a difficult situation for Dwight, as he hasn’t been used to missing significant amounts of time due to injury in his career.

Still, the way things played out – with the constant tug-of-war between Howard and the Orlando front office – definitely rubbed fans the wrong way, even outside of Orlando. It was to the point where even fans in Los Angeles were hoping the Lakers would hang onto Andrew Bynum simply to avoid dealing with Dwight’s drama.

But, as you all know, he trade ultimately went through and Howard became a member of the Lakers. He’s the latest in a legendary line of centers that have sported that Lakers jersey, and still has a long way to go to win over the fans he lost during this process.

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In case you missed it – Dwight Howard talks about starting over in Los Angeles
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