Los Angeles Lakers center Dwight Howard clarified comments he made earlier this week about his former Orlando Magic teammates, insisting he would "never say anything disrespectful to those guys and I think a lot of people took that and ran with it, twisted it into a negative thing."
The controversial comments, made to CBS affiliate KCAL, regard his old teammates and how the roster was "full of people who nobody wanted:"
"My team in Orlando was a team full of people who nobody wanted, and I was the leader, and I led that team with a smile on my face."
Howard clarified days later, after the Lakers beat the New Orleans Hornets Wednesday night, that he simply meant Orlando was full of "underdogs" and that he never meant to offend anyone on that team:
"My statement was just to say that our team that I played with in Orlando, we were the underdogs. Nobody really talked about our team. It was underrated. Everybody overlooked us for the whole time I was there in Orlando and I hated that. We all hated that. We thrived off that. My comments were never to say anything disrespectful to those guys. Those were my teammates for years. They helped me become the player that I am today and we all got to the Finals because of that. I would never say anything disrespectful to those guys and I think a lot of people took that and ran with it, twisted it into a negative thing. I love those guys."
Those initial comments caught the attention of Magic point guard Jameer Nelson, who played with Howard when he was on the team. Nelson responded, saying in the Orlando Sentinel that Howard needs to be learn how to be a professional:
“At some point, when are you [Dwight] gonna as a man, when are you going to take ownership and stay out of the media in a professional manner?” [I] would be less of a man to comment on certain things that people comment on about me and my teammates."