Dwight Howard's homecoming to Orlando is bittersweet. While the Los Angeles Lakers center is simply focused on the Tuesday night game against the Magic, there's a reason that more than 70 reporters attended a routine shootaround.
His return riles up some bitter feelings among many Magic fans. According to ESPN Los Angeles' Dave McMenamin, Howard is trying to keep it all business.
"All that stuff is over with now," Howard said. "Today is a new day. Whatever happened in the past, I'm going to leave it behind me. Like I said, I have nothing but love for the fans here. They treated me well. It didn't end right. It didn't end the way we all wanted it to end, but I'm in a better place and everybody has to move on."
Howard told the media that his first return to Orlando since being shipped off to the Lakers in the offseason was "like normal." He said he visited his old home and visited his favorite Waffle House, McMenamin reports.
Yet, it's clear that the visit even means something to Howard, who has in the recent weeks strained his relationship with old Magic teammates like Jameer Nelson, who took offense when the center called some of his old roster-mates "guys nobody wanted." Then on Sunday, Howard had said the return would be emotional, prompting Lakers teammate Kobe Bryant to tell the media he'd have to talk with Howard about holding the sappy stuff for later.
The mood was light at the Magic shootaround. Steve Nash jokingly attempted to rile up the assembled media, yelling out that Howard's post-practice routine was the longest he'd gone all season, writes McMenamin.
But Howard might indeed be back to his normal self and treating it all business. He's recorded double-digit rebounding performances in his last 10 games.