HOUSTON – The NBA rolled out all 24 All-Stars for a brief media session Saturday morning, lining them up in directors chairs on a long platform and putting teammates next to each other.
So it wasn’t Kobe Bryant‘s or Dwight Howard‘s idea to take on this duty seated next to one another.
The Los Angeles Lakers’ center was again put under the microscope because of a report that said the Lakers had discussions with the Boston Celtics about swapping Howard for Rajon Rondo, who is now, of course, out for the season with a torn ACL.
Howard said he hadn’t really heard anything about it and that trade rumors mean nothing to him.
“It doesn’t affect me. It’s a rumor,” Howard said. “A lot of times people will make up stories or they come out with stuff to make a story. Half the time that stuff isn’t even true so I just stay away from it, control what I can control and move forward.”
Asked if he ever seeks answers to find out if a rumor has truth: “No,” Howard answered. “There’s no reason to.”
Howard answered a myriad of other questions from the limitations caused by the torn labrum in his shoulder to whether he regrets the decision to sign the waiver that put him under Orlando’s control, delayed his free agency and landed him in L.A.:
Q: Have the events of the last two years changed you?
A: A lot of times when you go through stuff like this, we’re never the people that change. Everything changes around us, so people assume that we change because of that. But me, I’m still going to be the same person. I’m not going to allow whatever happens to affect who I am as a person. It makes you, I would say, just mature.
Q: Do you regret signing the waiver last March to remain with the Magic — which led to the trade to the Lakers — rather than enter free agency, which could have landed you in Brooklyn?
A: Everything happens for a reason and it was meant for whatever to happen the way it happened. So there’s no need for me to have any regrets about it. I can’t live my life with regret and wishing I did this or did that, especially while I’m young. I have a whole life ahead of me. Maybe when I’m 56 I’ll look back and say, ‘I wish I would have done this differently.’ But for now, I have my life ahead of me. Whatever’s happened behind me is in the past and I just move forward.
Q: How is your back and the torn labrum in your right shoulder affecting you on the court?
A: All that stuff is fine right now. The stuff that really bothers me is when I have to battle down in the paint, guys wrap me up and I’m trying to fight through them or play defense, try to put a forearm on guys to box them out. That’s when I might have problems sometimes or run into problems where it starts to pop, tenses up, stuff like that.
Q: You said you don’t want another circus-like atmosphere regarding where you’ll play next season. But until you make a decision, you know the topic will not go away. Are you prepared to handle that for the next five months?
A: My decision is at the end of the season so it shouldn’t be a topic. This is my life, this is my career, it’s my legacy so I’m not going to rush into it, I’m not going to sit and talk about it every day because it doesn’t make sense to me to put myself in that kind of stress knowing we have half a season left to play basketball. That’s what happened last year, talking about it, back-and-forth, and it made me seem like I didn’t know what I wanted to do. So, I don’t want to have to go through that again.
Q: Do you believe all the chaos will ultimately make you stronger?
A: Always. Every situation makes us stronger, that’s why we go through tests and trials and things like that to see how strong we are to get out of it. Every player and person has a dark period in their life or a time where nothing seems to go right for them, and you just got to push through it and remember that there’s always brighter days ahead.