Dwight Howard was ready to hang it up after a disappointing year in Houston. 

By Dan Gartland
September 19, 2017

Dwight Howard almost called it quits on the NBA before he turned 30.

Howard’s 2014–15 season was marked by a lingering knee injury that kept him out for two extended stretches, limiting him to just 41 games, and a decrease in production—particularly on the defensive end—followed.

After the season, he told Sports Illustrated’s Lee Jenkins, he thought about hanging it up.

At a low point with the Rockets, after the 2014–15 season, he considered retiring. The jolly giant who supposedly had too much fun on the floor was miserable. “The joy,” Howard says, “was sucked out of it.” But what would retirement accomplish? He had to change his life regardless of his occupation. So he did what his teenage self would have done. He saw a pastor.

The pastor he turned to was Calvin Simmons, who has advised plenty of professional athletes.

“Dwight had gone from the darling of the NBA to the black sheep,” Simmons told Jenkins. “He realized he had done some things wrong and needed to change, but at the beginning he just wanted to share.”

Howard, of course, didn’t retire. He spent one more year in Houston before going home to Atlanta as a free agent. He’ll get another fresh start in Charlotte this season after an offseason trade.

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