ALTAMONTE SPRINGS — Dwight Howard wanted to talk about bowling and his ambitious charitable organization on Saturday, not about basketball or his future with the Orlando Magic.
As he hosted his first benefit event for the D12 Foundation, a public-relations representative for Howard's nonprofit advised members of the press not to ask about the superstar's plans to become a free agent in 2012 or about basketball.
When Howard did face a question about how he would deal with a potential NBA lockout, Howard decided to have a little fun and make a joke.
"I'm not worried about the lockout," Howard said.
"I have two jobs in place. One, I've been training a couple of chickens in my backyard. I have a miniature treadmill. I have some steroids for the chickens, and we're going to do cockfights. So I might do that. The other one is I've been also training for curling. So I'll be in Canada and Montreal with the curling team up there. So, yeah, I can't wait."
Yes, he was joking about both of those new jobs.
But he was serious when he discussed the D12 Foundation, which will raise money for a variety of charitable projects, including a children's hospital in Orlando and the BETA Center, an Orlando-based nonprofit that helps teen mothers.
"I'm willing to go wherever it takes to reach out and touch a kid's a life and not just touch a kid's life, but talk to them and motivate them and watch them grow into great people," Howard said. "That's our mission."
Saturday's bowling event at AMF Altamonte Lanes also drew former Magic stars Nick Anderson, Darrell Armstrong and Bo Outlaw, Tampa Bay Buccaneers center Jeff Faine and Atlanta Hawks forward Josh Powell, who is one of Howard's closest friends in the NBA.
"Anything I can do to help with the kids and with a local guy like Dwight here in Orlando, my hometown, I'm excited to be a part of this," Faine said.
Howard recently returned from an adidas promotional tour of Europe.
During that overseas trip, he told members of the media that, while his first preference is to remain with the Magic, he plans to become a free agent in 2012. He also indicated that he would like to see the Magic make improvements to their roster.
His foundation's public-relations representative cut off a question-and-answer session after he received and jokingly answered the question about an NBA lockout.
As Howard walked away, he was asked what he thought about how the Magic did in Thursday's NBA draft.
"I didn't see it," he said.
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Dwight Howard spends day giving back, not talking about basketball
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