The Los Angeles Lakers practice facility re-opened on Saturday for voluntary workouts.
Given how vocal Lakers players have been about wanting to come back, it’s likely many of them will head to the UCLA Health Training center over the coming days. And while that is now an option, players are still subject to strict protocols set by the NBA for voluntary individual workouts.
As the Lakers work to get back to some normalcy, Dwight Howard is not yet part of that process. He won’t even return to L.A. as he is remaining in Georgia for the foreseeable future.
Howard – who lives in Georgia full time – flew home after the NBA season went on hiatus over two months ago. In that time, he has faced some difficult situations, including the death of the mother of his child.
Despite wanting to get back to basketball, there are things that are just more important. Howard has learned some impactful lessons over the past two months, and it has led him to prioritizing family, even if it means not being able to return to the facility in L.A. just yet, via Mirjam Swanson of The Southern California News Group:
“After having all these situations happen, it’s just reconfirming to me: Just stay in the moment, always be grateful. For everything that you have, every little thing,” he said. “It’s been bittersweet because I do want to play basketball, but my son right now needs me more than anything.”
There is no doubt that the Lakers are supporting Howard in what is a very difficult time for him. When it’s time for games to start up again, Howard will get back to work and do what he needs to do to make that happen.
But for now, he believes that where he’s needed most is at home and not on the basketball court. This decision can easily be understood by the Lakers organizations and fans everywhere.
In the NBA world, Howard has been through a lot in recent years, and this season was the first time he had truly found a perfect fit for himself since leaving the Orlando Magic in 2012.
And now that things are finally working for Howard on the court, it’s commendable that he wants to prioritize his family and 6-year-old son.