Dwight Howard has had a resurgent year with the Los Angeles Lakers as he has become one of the team’s key contributors during the 2019-20 NBA season.
Howard — who signed a one-year, non-guaranteed deal with the Lakers in 2019 NBA free agency — has come off the bench and provided excellent defense and rebounding that has helped propel them to a league-best 23-3 record.
While Howard has won fans over in Los Angeles, there are still hard feelings about his departure from the Orlando Magic. According to Dave McMenamin of ESPN, he detailed how he felt during his messy exit from the Magic:
“I was super bitter at a lot of the things that transpired behind closed doors that none of the Magic fans or people really know about,” Howard said without revealing specifics. “I never said anything about it. I never bashed or talked anything bad about this team. But I did have a lot of bitterness in my heart toward the organization and even the fans of how they treated me when I came back. But I let it go. I was super bitter, but I let it go. And by letting it go, it just dropped all the weight that I had and it just made me a better person.”
However, he seems to be at peace with where he is now:
“I got blessed to come back and play with the Lakers, and I’m in a really good situation,” Howard said. “I’m pretty sure there were a lot of people here who were super hurt and disappointed that I left, and I’m sorry for that. You know, I apologize if they felt that way. But I never would have been the person I am today if I would have stayed here. So I’m very thankful that everything that has transpired has transpired, and it’s made me the best version of Dwight Howard.”
During his time in Orlando, Howard was the best center in the league but his reputation took a massive hit after asking for a trade. He was eventually traded to the Lakers, but spent only one season before moving on to the Houston Rockets.
Howard has been preaching about his newfound mindset and focus regarding basketball and so far it has paid massive dividends for the purple and gold. While Magic fans will still likely continue to harbor negative feelings toward the 34-year-old, the Lakers are more than happy to have him back on board.