On the eve of his return to Orlando, Dwight Howard is saying he could’ve handled the long drawn-out Dwightmare better.
"In Orlando, I handled a lot of stuff the wrong way," he told USA Today during a one-on-one interview in his Bel Air home. "If any of those people in Orlando are upset with how I did it, I apologize for the way I handled it and the way it was handled in the media.
“I really just got caught up in wanting to please everybody else. I really love that city. That was the hardest thing to do was to leave that city because I basically grew up there. That was my whole life. Orlando was it. I did not want to leave all that behind — the city, just everything about it. The fans. But I wanted a change for my life. I just felt like there was something else out there for me.”
The Orlando Magic will host Howard’s Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday in Howard’s first game at Amway Center since April 5, 2012.
He also told USA Today that he should’ve done a better job of communicating with his former teammates and his former coach, Stan Van Gundy.
"Whenever something happened, I should've let my teammates know. I should've said, 'OK, this is what's going on. I know what's being said, but this is how I really feel,' " Howard said. "Or, 'Hey, Coach, this is what's being said, but this is how I feel,' instead of just letting everything pile on and me not saying anything.
"I just felt at the time like, 'I'm not going to say anything. I'm just going to sit back and let it unfold.' By doing that, everybody was getting mixed signals. They're hearing this on TV, or I might make a quote about this and they twist it and turn it into something else. Now you've got everybody like, 'What is he doing?'… It was story after story after story start coming out saying it was me saying this and me saying that, and I'm like, 'I never said none of this stuff.' I could tell some of that stuff started to bother my teammates, but I didn't say nothing because I'm like, 'They know that I'm not saying this.' And it just kept piling on and piling on."
Last week, the Orlando Sentinel gave Howard a chance to discuss his thoughts with his return to the Orlando approaching.
The interview request was routed to Howard’s personal publicists.
“Unfortunately, he isn't available,” one of Howard’s spokeswomen wrote in an e-mail message.
Josh Robbins covers the Orlando Magic and the NBA for the Orlando Sentinel. You can reach him via e-mail at email@example.com and connect with him on Facebook at facebook.com/JoshuaBRobbins. Follow him on Twitter at @JoshuaBRobbins.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun