Los Angeles Lakers: Why Dwight Howard ultimately had to rejoin Lakers

Los Angeles Lakers Dwight Howard (Photo by Matteo Marchi/Getty Images)
Los Angeles Lakers Dwight Howard (Photo by Matteo Marchi/Getty Images) /

There is a fundamental reason why Dwight Howard is in Orlando with the Los Angeles Lakers.

Dwight Howard gave the Los Angeles Lakers a big scare when he declared that he might sit out the rest of the season instead of going to the Orlando Bubble to battle for the 2020 NBA Championship. He has been a big part of Lakers’ success this year, averaging 7.5 points, 7.4 rebounds and 1.2 blocks as a critical piece off the bench.

Howard cited two main reasons that could keep him away from the NBA. First, fulfilling his duties of dad, taking care of his motherless son in such a terrible time with the pandemic and the turmoil going on in the U.S.

Second, he considered staying away from the entertaining world the NBA belongs to as a means to fight the discrimination problem in America, which has reached unacceptable new levels.

He had absolutely legitimate and praiseworthy reasons and no one would have criticized him for his choice. No issues are currently bigger than those that Howard addressed and deserve the maximum seriousness and consideration, above anything else. But ultimately, Dwight decided to join the Lakers’ travel party and take part in the resumption of the season.

He knows that he has screwed up his career one too many times and this is his last chance to prove that he still has a place in the NBA and, maybe, to win a championship.

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After eight all-star seasons between Orlando, Houston and a short, regrettable first stint in LA, hunted by a reputation of being a locker room nuisance and not being serious enough about winning, he spent the last year bouncing from a team to another, constantly traded or waived. Injuries played a part as well in this downfall. The Los Angeles Lakers are his fifth team in the last five years.

A career that began with promise of great success and awards turned in a nightmare.

Finally, a healthy Howard received a non-guaranteed (later guaranteed) contract by the Los Angeles Lakers to see what he had left in the tank and the outcome, as seen, has been a welcomed surprise for both him and the team.

Dwight is finally in the fight for a championship, playing a key energetic role for a contender and praised for his presence in the locker room and his commitment to getting that championship.

It seems that at 34 years old, his career has turned around and he needs to show that this change is real, not just a coincidence. He has not many years left and if he wants to still have a place in the league in the near future to solidify his case for the Hall of Fame, he cannot take anything for granted. Furthermore, that championship is exactly what he would need.

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The NBA has worked with the NBPA to give the players the chance to best exploit their platform to manifest for human rights, so Howard will still have ways to contribute to the important cause. He already declared that he will donate all his earnings in the bubble to his initiative, “Breathe Again”.