Los Angeles Lakers big man Dwight Howard turned a lot of heads when it was revealed he was among the players who were against the NBA season continuing on July 31. The former All-Star has been close to winning a championship in the past but has never been able to get over the hump. He’s currently a member of the best team in the Western Conference and has his best chance at getting a title in a decade.
However, in a recent appearance on CNN, Howard made it clear that he thinks activism is more important right now:
That’s the first thing I want people to understand: I want to win a championship so bad. Going to L.A., for me, has been the best thing in my life and I’m very appreciative of just being on that team. Playing with LeBron, playing with A.D., just representing the Lakers again has meant the world to me. I just personally have seen so much pain from our people.
I just feel like our people, we need attention. I really feel like our world is hurting right now. There’s so much stuff going on in our world, that I just feel like we don’t need to get distracted by anything. I would definitely want to play and win a championship, but I don’t want anything to distract us from what’s going on in our world. It’s hurting me, it’s hurting my family, it’s hurting all of our families. Everybody is feeling it right now. I just think we need to focus on what’s going on.
Players for the Lakers have been among the most outspoken on social issues. Reportedly, LeBron James doesn’t think playing basketball will hinder his ability to get his message out but there are clearly a number of players who do think that would be the case.
Charles Barkley Criticizes Howard’s Position
While Howard clearly feels strongly about his stance, not everybody agrees with him. NBA legend Charles Barkley had some very strong feelings about why the NBA should continue the season.
“I think it will be stupid to not play for two reasons,” Barkley said on ESPN’s “Get Up!”
“Number one, if they don’t play, they’re gonna be out of sight, out of mind for the rest of the year. They’re gonna lose billions of dollars that the players could use to go into their own communities and do some great stuff. So, it’s not good on any part.”
Barkley also specifically called out Howard and Kyrie Irving.
“I have no idea what Kyrie and Dwight are talking about,” Barkley said. “But, it’ll be a catastrophic mistake not to play.”
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There’s Still a Chance Howard Will Play if Season Returns
While Howard has made his stance clear, that doesn’t mean he won’t play if the season does reboot, according to his agent. He’s no longer the dominant big man he was in Orlando, but he’s been a key role player for the Lakers. Losing him would be a blow to their bench.
Los Angeles has a lot of reasons to want to bring the season back. They have a really good shot at ending the season as champions. If the season is continued and all their players play, it will be a situation to monitor.