Dwight Howard has moved on, and wishes embittered Magic fans would do the same.
Howard, who has resurrected his career in Los Angeles, implored the Orlando faithful to “let that sh*t go.”
LeBron James (25 points, 11 rebounds, 10 assists) led the visiting Lakers past Howard’s former team in a 96-87 road victory Wednesday night.
“I think it takes everybody a while to get over things, but time should heal wounds, and if not, got to let that s— go,” Howard said before the Lakers played the Magic. “That’s how — I’m sorry — that’s how I look at it. I’ve let a lot of things go in my heart, things that have kind of held me down. Things that I had towards the Magic and just how the situation ended. How I was treated by the fans and stuff like that. But I had to let that bitterness go. There’s no need to hold on to it. When I let it go, it just made my life a lot better. Just more free.”
Howard was traded from the Magic to the Lakers in the summer of 2012. At the time, he was 26 years old and viewed as a franchise player, having established himself as the premier defensive center in the game in Orlando.
“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. I never thought this would happen. So, I’m happy that it happened. I know that it broke a lot of people’s hearts. It broke my heart, too. But, man, at the end of the day, I’m free. I feel really good.”
Had Howard never left the Magic, perhaps he doesn’t have the down years he experienced in Atlanta, Charlotte and Washington. But perhaps he never ends up on a contender like this season’s Lakers.
“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,” he 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 towards 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.”