Originally posted on Fox Sports West  |  Last updated 12/2/12
Off the court, Laker center Dwight Howard is polite, soft-spoken and when hes not joking around, very thoughtful. He very rarelyif everrefuses to speak with the media - that makes him an anomaly in the world of professional sports. Naturally, with his former teamthe Orlando Magicin town to play the Lakers Sunday night at Staples Center, questions were asked about his emotions in going up against the organization he started withthen demanded to be traded from eight years later. At the time of his trade to the Lakers, Howard had an emotional time re-visiting his "Dwightmare" summer. Sometimes you have to leave things behind, he said at the time. If you really want to get somewhere, you have to get out of your comfort zone to get it. It was very tough to do, especially at a young age. "I want to be a champion and I want to be great, so I had to go out and get those things. A little over two months later, Howard softened his stance about the way things went down with the Magic. There are some things I could have done better; things that could have been done better on both sides, he told a group of reporters after Saturday afternoons practice. But in the end, we all learn and we have to move forward. Weve both learned valuable lessons, and I try to keep in touch as much as I can with (Magic owner) Rich DeVos and the DeVos family. I talked to Rich after the trade, and we both understand it was a decision that had to be made, and its over with now. Howard said that just because hes a Laker now doesnt mean he has to have any resentment toward his former team and teammates. Theres no need for me not to check up on the DeVos family and the team just because I dont play there anymore. I called Rich after he had a stroke and I plan to stay in touch with the DeVos family. But as a member of the Lakers now, he has one goal only Sunday nightputting another L in the Magic won-loss column. Its a little bit different, Howard said, but at the end of the day Ive got to go out there and do my job. Theres no need for me to go out there and be upset with those guys, act like I never knew those guys. Im just going to play. Theres parts of me that would like to be (angrier), but at the end of the day thats not going to make me better and its not going to make the situation better. It would just put a magnifying glass on it, and theres no need for all that. Howard also talked about the frustration that hes experienced during the Lakers slow start to the season, saying he expected all along that it would take time for the team to jell into a contender. Sometimes its frustrating, Howard said matter-of-factly, but like Ive been telling you guys, its going to be a process. We want to win a championship and were doing all of the things we need to do everyday when we come into the gym. Guys are here early; guys stay late, working on their shooting and their game. Those are all very positive signs for a team thats just come together. And while there have been a few setbacks, Howard doesnt regret his decision to force a trade to Los Angeles. Its been a lot of fun, he said. From 1 to 10, Id give it a good 12. Everybody here is about a championship. Thats what we base everything on. Everybodys pushing each other and thats great. We see championships and thats what were after. I love it. While he wouldnt answer any questions about re-signing with the LakersWere not going there he repeated a few times, it sounds like hes happy in purple and gold. Which is what the Buss family and Mitch Kupchak were counting on as a huge selling point when they do try to get him to stay with the Lakers next summer. And maybe they should warm up their pens. Seeing the Orlando uniform Sunday night might remind him just how happy he is to be in Los Angelesas a Lakerafter a Dwightmarish summer.
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