Dwight Howard Says He Can Be Himself Again in Los Angeles

by October 09, 2012

During the toxic, final season in Orlando, Dwight Howard says he turned inward and shut himself off from the world. Now that he’s a Laker, Howard feels he can turn back into his goofy, fun-loving self.ย Per SI: “Now I’m here, and now I can just relax and have fun and be who I am,’ Howard said. ‘I guess last year I really just sheltered, or kept myself away, because it was like, I say this, and then it’s going to be turned into something else, or somebody is going to take it the wrong way and make it seem like I’m a certain type of person. So I really just tried to stay to myself. But now I’m basically free. It’s a lot of fun. This is who I am.’ Howard was responsible for much of the ‘Dwight-mare,’ not only the trade requests issued to Orlando but also the way in which he let his once-spotless image be tarnished by all the secrecy and silliness. In the face of nonstop scrutiny about his future, Howard put on a what-not-to-do media relations clinic that not only turned him into the NBA’s next villain but also left him more guarded and defensive than ever before. ‘Everybody had a perception based on what was put out there on TV, and it wasn’t the right one,’ Howard said. ‘There’s nothing I could really do about it. So when I see that, I do get upset and it hurts me because I’m like, ‘This is not me.’ I’ve never been a distraction to a team. I’ve never been a bad teammate, never been a guy who does all these things that people said I was doing. But I’m going to show these [Lakers] guys that this is who I am. I love to have fun. I love to bring people together, and I’m going to go out there every night and give you 110 percent.'”