Dwight Howard has been a driving force behind the Los Angeles Lakers’ 2020 NBA Finals run. He ended up back with the franchise after a 2012-13 stint following a DeMarcus Cousins tearing his ACL in the offseason. Howard may not be the physical specimen he was when he entered the league as a high schooler, but his defensive intelligence and physicality remain intact. He’s now poised to win his first ring in two trips to the NBA Finals.
The Lakers were almost without their rotation center in these playoffs after tragedy struck his family. Howard’s son lost his mother to COVID-19, leading to indifference to enter the bubble. After some deliberation, Howard joined his teammates in Orlando intending to contribute to what’s occurring on the floor and off the floor for social justice. He spoke to CNN about his decision:
“I have a contractual obligation to my teammates, to my fans, the Lakers, the organization, and everyone. But at the same time, I also have an obligation to my family, and my community. So, yes I will be joining my team in Orlando, but during that time, we will be getting a lot of work done here in Atlanta, and you know, around the nation of course, making sure people don’t forget about us.”
Howard has been extremely candid about his feelings on life in the bubble, He’s also focused on the ongoing movement outside of it. All of this has come with balancing the duties of a father that has to lead a grieving family. After Saturday night’s Western Conference Finals series win, he spoke to reporters about what this means for him and his son:
Dwight Howard said his 6-year-old son David has asked him this year, after his mother died, why life is so hard. Having David here in the bubble to watch the WCF has meant a lot.
“I think it will mean the world to him. He’ll never forget this moment and neither will I.” pic.twitter.com/uCTBb53jXM
— Kyle Goon (@kylegoon) September 27, 2020
Redemption and sentiments are at stake for Howard’s championship pursuit. It’s never easy to navigate death and day to day life, but Dwight has done it under the radar. To be able to accomplish his mission of winning an NBA title for himself and his son will be tremendous. I wish Dwight and his family well as they are just a few days away from him finishing the job and then heading back outside the bubble to achieve solace amidst an unexpected tragedy.