Dwight Howard hasn’t been the most popular player in the NBA over the last several seasons. His time with the Los Angeles Lakers was borderline laughable, and he is still seen as soft with the Houston Rockets.
Don’t worry, though, Howard knows you don’t like him—and he actually does seem to care more than most in the public eye.
Howard filled in for Shaquille O’Neal Tuesday night on TNT’s “Inside the NBA.” While on set, Charles Barkley, in typical Chuck fashion, came right out with his question on national television—“Why don’t people like you?”
“I think I was very likable in Orlando,” said Howard, not shying away from the question one bit. “The way that situation ended, I think people felt as though I’m just this bad guy. I’m all about myself. I’m a diva; I’m stuck on being Dwight Howard, this famous basketball player. So a lot of people said, ‘You know what, we don’t like this guy.’”
Of course, everything was downhill for Howard with the Orlando Magic after being swept by the Lakers in the 2009 NBA Finals. Howard got Stan Van Gundy fired, demanded a trade, and was sent to the Lakers in 2012. After one dismal season in L.A., Howard signed with the Houston Rockets. Since then, Howard’s likeability has only further deteriorated in the minds of most fans.
“And, you know, it really hurts me because my heart and my attitude toward the game has always been the same. And my drive has always been there. I’ve never been a bad person…But you get to know me, I’m laid back. I like to have fun.”
Howard was a little less open about his plans for this offseason. The big man has the option to opt out of his contract with the Rockets and seek a new team in free agency.
“I’ve always been interested in winning.” Something the Rockets didn’t do nearly enough of this season.
The New Orleans Pelicans could always use a center. I’ll like you. I’ll even buy your jersey.