Dwight Howard spoke for the first time Wednesday in nearly two months.
He acknowledged that being confined to the NBA bubble at Walt Disney World has been very challenging for him.
\ »Thereu2019s really nothing to do,\ » Howard said. \ »If I can be honest with you, thereu2019s nowhere to go, thereu2019s no way to release anything. Any feeling that you might have, itu2019s just like weu2019re stuck.\ »
Howard was asked if he ever thought about leaving and going home.
\ »I’ll speak about some of the things at a later date,\ » he said. \ »But right now, the focus is on us winning this championship, and what I can do to help this team win. Obviously, coming in, I felt like, ‘don’t do anything that would be a distraction.’ But at the present time, I’ll save those comments to a later date.\ »
Howard was always hesitant to participate in the resumed NBA season.
He worried that basketball would distract from the fight for social justice. And he was wary about leaving his family after the mother of his six-year-old son, David, died in March after having an epileptic seizure.
His time in the bubble hasn’t been easy.
He was reported to the NBA Campus Hotline in July for not wearing a face covering. At the time, he said \ »it was pointless\ » for someone to make that complaint. He also took heat for saying in an Instagram Live video that he doesn’t believe in vaccinations.
And then after NBA players held a meeting to discuss whether to continue with the postseason in the wake of the Jacob Blake shooting in August, Chris Haynes of Yahoo! Sports reported that Howard was the only Laker who remained after the entire team — led by LeBron James — walked out and were ready to go home.
When asked about his mindset at the time, Howard said that topic is no longer pertinent.
\ »Right now, the only thing that matters is Denver,\ » he said. \ »That situation is behind us, so we’re just looking forward to this first game on Friday.\ »
Howard was further challenged when the Lakers met the Houston Rockets in the Western Conference semifinals. The Lakers opted to go with a small-ball lineup, and Howard played in only two games of the team’s five games.
Lakers coach Frank Vogel and Anthony Davis praised Howard for staying positive and engaged and being extremely vocal on the bench.
But Howard acknowledged not having an on-court outlet was tough.
\ »It was extremely hard, but I know that my teammates still needed me no matter if I played 10 minutes or no minutes, just bringing energy,\ » Howard said.\ » So I just try to bottle up all the negative energy and try to turn it into something positive when I step on the court or in the locker room or on the bench cheering for my teammates. Itu2019s very difficult when youu2019re not playing sometimes. Or itu2019s very easy to sulk and be upset and try to find ways to blame everybody else. But I just thought a lot of positive things, and the fact that weu2019re still winning, and we all have our health and we have the opportunity to win the championship.\ »
Howard said he’s trying to make the best of things.
He has a real chance to win his first-ever title after the Lakers made the Western Conference Finals for the first time since 2010.
And now his son, David, is in the bubble with him after players were allowed to bring in some family members following the first round of the playoffs.
\ »So, just try to find joy in the fact that I have my son with me,\ » he said. \ »The fact that all we have to do is win eight games to win a championship. So I just try to stay positive with everything. But it is extremely difficult, being in a location I canu2019t get out, canu2019t see family, friends. You just in the hotel. So that is very difficult, seeing the same walls every day. But at the end of the day u2026 canu2019t allow it to really affect us too much, but it is extremely difficult.\ »