It looks like Dwight Howard might be suiting up alongside his fellow Lakers teammates after all.
Despite siding with Kyrie Irving, who believes the league should not restart because it would be a distraction, the Los Angeles Lakers are confident Howard will be playing in Orlando when the NBA restarts July 30. In a statement released to Stadium on Wednesday (Jun.17), Howard further clarifying why he sided with Irving. He expressed his support for players making their own decisions but also didn’t state whether he has decided to play.
Howard also added the group did not want to “halt” the season and suggested that the idea would be “silly” for them to even believe they could.
Howard statement reads in part:
“Our main objective is to raise awareness and gain transparency on the things that concern us collectively. Many of our fellow players are afraid to voice their concerns and are continuing to follow along with what they believe they have to.
“Some of these players may have leaders that could speak for them, but unfortunately as history shows, leaders sometimes become self-serving [sic] and forget the people that they are supposed to represent. Some leaders even use fear and intimidation to make sure they serve their own agendas while forgetting the feelings of their people.
“In a time like this where we are fighting for equal rights, it would be contradictory if we told our own players to not play and do as we say. We are not here to dictate, nor do we have the power to do so. We want to make sure communication is taking place openly without fear.
“As radical as Kyrie may sound, he is 100% correct. We are no longer slaves, so every man has a right to transparency in order to make sound decisions.
“And as Avery said, in the decisions we make, be sure we are thinking of everyone collectively and not moving based off of selfish agendas.
“If anyone of us chooses to sit, it has nothing to do with another player’s right to play. Not once has any of us told one of our fellow brethren not to go to the Orlando Bubble Experiment, and we stressed that in our meetings.
“We spoke about our individual stances, which again, as men and women with free speech, we are entitled to do so. We stressed the importance of unity amongst us even if we have a difference in opinion.”
While the Lakers are sure, Howard will play in “bubble city,” the same cannot be said about Avery Bradly, who also is skeptical about the NBA restart. Unlike Irving, Bradly has issued a much more specific reason and has even presented some actions and changes to the leagues hiring policies when it comes to Blacks he would like the NBA to strongly consider. According to reports, Irving does want to remain on the frontlines of the fight and also allegedly pushed the idea of players starting their own league.
Some think there is a divide in the Lakers’ locker room, but according to one unnamed player told ESPN, that is not the case at all. LeBron James, who has been relatively silent when it has come to this situation, is reportedly still gearing to get back on the court July 30. He believes he can both win an NBA championship while speaking out on police brutality and racism as well as push for racial justice reform.
James has been very active in the fight, using his social media platforms to call out racial injustice and, most recently, teaming up with other athletes and celebrities to energize and inform Black voters.
Photo: Katelyn Mulcahy / Getty