Dwight Howard Opens Up on Returning to Staples Center: 'It's Kinda Weird' - Lakers Daily

Dwight Howard Opens Up on Returning to Staples Center: ‘It’s Kinda Weird’

Dwight Howard Lakers Gary A. Vasquez / USA TODAY Sports

The last time Dwight Howard played at Staples Center as a member of the Los Angeles Lakers, he got ejected as the team got swept by the San Antonio Spurs in the first round of the 2013 NBA Playoffs.

On Monday, he donned a Laker uniform in their home arena once again, and afterward he opened up about how it felt.

“It’s kinda weird to be back out there, but I’m very thankful to be playing with the Lakers again,” Howard said. “I’ve always loved this place, despite how it ended the last time. I never lost any love for the fans or the people here. I love playing in this building.”

The former No. 1 overall pick of the 2004 NBA Draft had an impressive outing, contributing 12 points, 13 rebounds, six assists, four steals and one blocked shot in 22 minutes as the Lakers defeated the Golden State Warriors 104-98.

He even shot 8-of-10 from the free-throw line, which is a facet of the game he’s always struggled with.

After leaving the Lakers as a free agent in 2013 amidst a reported rift with Kobe Bryant, Howard spent three fruitless seasons with the Houston Rockets where he feuded with James Harden. Since then, Howard has bounced around the league, playing single seasons with the Atlanta Hawks, Charlotte Hornets and Washington Wizards.

He signed a one-year, non-guaranteed contract with the Lakers shortly after DeMarcus Cousins tore his ACL in early August.