Los Angeles Lakers owner Jeanie Buss made headlines over comments about Dwight Howard‘s first tenure with them during the 2012-13 NBA season.
Surprisingly, Buss came to Howard’s defense, saying the Lakers brought in a head coach with a bad system, causing him to spurn Los Angeles in 2013 NBA free agency.
Howard’s return to Los Angeles and subsequent remarkable season has been one of the team’s best stories as his mindset is completely renewed after a few difficult seasons in the NBA. He has been a vital role player for the Lakers and was rewarded by getting his contract fully guaranteed in January.
Buss’ comments absolved Howard from his actions in 2013 despite Lakers fans being angry with him for the following six seasons afterwards, according to Los Angeles Times:
Jeanie Buss said she understood why Dwight Howard left the Lakers initially. “We hired a coach that didn’t respect his game and wasn’t going to put him in a position to succeed.” pic.twitter.com/EJqByP2mKQ
— L.A. Times Sports (@latimessports) March 3, 2020
Howard thanked Buss for her comments but reverted the focus back on the current season, according to Dave McMenamin of ESPN:
A night after Lakers owner Jeanie Buss said she understood why Dwight Howard left LAL as a free agent in 2013 because, “we hired a coach (in Mike D’Antoni) that didn’t respect his game and wasn’t going to put him in a position to succeed,” Howard took the high road. pic.twitter.com/i7MEgkHMr0
— Dave McMenamin (@mcten) March 4, 2020
Howard has proven on countless occasions this season that he is a different person than the one that left Los Angeles seven years ago. He went from elite big man to a journeyman who was waived and traded from several teams over the course of two seasons before finally sticking with the Lakers.
Howard’s comments, as well as his on court play, show that he’s truly transformed as an individual.
Howard has already won back the fans, but he’ll now have a chance to help bring home a championship — something many thought he was going to do in 2013.