Howard is ready to put his words into action in his second stint in Los Angeles.
Dwight Howard sees his reunion with the Los Angeles Lakers this season as a "very big blessing," one that came after his life away from the court hit rock bottom this summer.
Speaking to reporters during an introductory conference call on Wednesday, Howard said he fought a number of personal battles before signing with the Lakers, ones that challenged him "mentally, physically and spiritually" off of the court. For the 33-year-old center, the chance to come back to Los Angeles has been an "awesome experience."
"I never had any ill will toward any of the fans here in L.A.," Howard said, per ESPN's Dave McMenamin. "I loved this city from the first moment I've been here and started playing in the NBA. It was never nothing against anybody here [on] the team or anything like that, it was just a decision I made. I love this city. I love playing in L.A. I'm back here, so none of that stuff in the past even really matters to me anymore. I think we all have a fresh start."
Howard had previously spent the 2012-13 season in Los Angeles, a tumultuous campaign that resulted in Howard leaving the franchise to sign with the Rockets as a free agent. The Lakers' renewed interest in the former Grizzlies center piqued after DeMarcus Cousins tore his left ACL on Aug. 12 while working out in Las Vegas.
Howard told reporters he made sure to have long conversations with his new teammates, including Anthony Davis, Rajon Rondo and JaVale McGee, and let them know he's ready to put his words into action this season.
"Everybody here wants to win, and I want to win, too," Howard said. "It wasn't about selling myself. It was just letting them know everything I'm about, and what we're trying to accomplish."
Howard spent last season with the Wizards and averaged 12.8 points and 9.2 rebounds per game.