Lakers center Dwight Howard has opted to play in the NBA’s restart in Orlando, according to The Athletic’s Shams Charania. He will also be donating his remaining cheques to his non-profit campaign, “Breath Again.”
His donation will accumulate to about $700,000 towards “Breath Again.”
Howard had previously been ambivalent about participating in the league’s restart. He was among the players that felt uncomfortable playing whilst the protests against police brutality were proceeding. Howard, along with Kyrie Irving and Avery Bradley, felt as if restarting the NBA distract from the Black Lives Matter movement.
In addition, Melissa Rios, the mother of Dwight Howard’s six-year-old son, passed away in March due to an epileptic seizure.
Howard is currently averaging 7.5 points, 7.4 rebounds, and 1.2 blocks in 19 minutes per game. He has acclimated proudly to his backup center position. Furthermore, Howard has shown glimpses of his former Defensive Player of the Year self. With Avery Bradley announcing that he will not join the Lakers in Orlando, Howard’s decision comes as a major relief.
Los Angeles also doesn’t have to acquire a replacement for Howard. Since the July 1st transaction window had passed, the Lakers would have been forced to sign a player with three years or less experience – likely serving little assistance in their title chase.
Dwight Howard and the Lakers kick off the NBA restart on July 30th against the Los Angeles Clippers.