One of the most polarizing players in Los Angeles Lakers history is Dwight Howard as he was hated by fans for many years after leaving in free agency in the summer of 2013. Howard then got his second chance in 2019, however, when he was brought back on a minimum deal.
Howard made the most of that opportunity by being a positive player and locker room influence on a team that won the championship, essentially bringing his career full circle.
Unfortunately though, Howard left again last offseason to join the Philadelphia 76ers. He is now back for a third time, however, and he feels the Lakers organization is where he’s meant to be.
“I just think that it’s like we’re supposed to be together,” Howards said at his (re)introductory press conference. “Just something about the Lakers and myself, it’s like we were just supposed to be together. It’s like, I have my greatest times, some of my greatest moments here in a Lakers jersey playing in L.A. and I played with arguably the greatest player in the NBA with Kobe, now playing with LeBron and AD and Russ and Carmelo, it’s like a dream.
“So for me, I’m super excited, I love this city. I think that it fits me well and just looking forward to being whatever I need to be for this team to win. We’ve had experience winning together before, myself, AD and LeBron, so I think we kind of have that chemistry. And then playing with Carmelo in the Olympics, I think it’s just gonna be really awesome for us. I’m just looking forward to just this whole year. We’ve got Trevor, we’ve been friends since we were 15 years old playing high school against each other. Played on the same team twice in Orlando and Houston and now here in L.A. together. So this is amazing.”
Last season was a disappointment for both the Lakers and Howard with neither making the NBA Finals. While he doesn’t want to focus on that now, but Howard did mention that they have a bitter taste in their mouth and want to get back and win it all this season.
“Well I think last year is over with. I think for both parties it was disappointing to not be in the Finals and win so I don’t think we have to go back to those moments. But I think for now, the guys that we have in the locker room, Laker Nation, I think last year left a bitter taste for all of us because we know how great we can be together. So I think this year is gonna be different, all of us are ready to go and looking forward to bringing home the trophy.”
The Lakers missed Howard in a big way last season as they were not able to replace his defensive toughness and lob-threat ability. Now that he is back though, he seems ready to play that role once again to help the Lakers win their 18th championship and second for him personally.
‘Love’ brought Howard back to Lakers
When asked what brought him back to the Lakers for a third time now, Howard had a very interesting and positive answer.
“What brought me back to the Lakers? Love. Love for the game. Love for this city, love for the team and just the opportunity to win. I think we have some unbelievable talent on this roster and I think we have an opportunity to do something really great here again and I’m looking forward to just coming in and just being myself, bringing that energy, bringing that effort every night and just having fun.
“This will be my 18th year in the league so at this point it’s all about enjoying every single moment having my family around, being around great teammates, great people and the greatest organization in the NBA.”
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