Dwight Howard Discusses Motivation, Desire to Win Championship with Hawks

Joe Pantorno@@JoePantornoFeatured ColumnistJuly 6, 2016

Dwight Howard pauses on the court during a timeout in the second half in Game 4 of a first-round NBA basketball playoff series against the Golden State Warriors, Sunday, April 24, 2016, in Houston. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
David J. Phillip/Associated Press

Center Dwight Howard is on his way home after agreeing to a three-year, $70.5 million deal with the Atlanta Hawks on Friday, per ESPN's Chris Broussard

This will be the fourth team Howard will play for as he prepares for his 13th NBA season. But he is still ringless after being selected first overall in the 2004 draft out of Southwest Atlanta Christian Academy.   

On Tuesday, Howard spoke with Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution about his mission with his new team: "I want to do whatever I can to bring a championship home. I know it’s not going to be easy. I’ve worked extremely hard this summer, every summer. I’m very motivated. I’m really (ticked) off about last season. I’m looking forward to coming back with a different mentality."

Last season with the Houston Rockets, Howard averaged 13.7 points per game—his lowest output since his rookie season with the Orlando Magic—to go with 11.8 rebounds. On top of that, the team's star scorer, James Harden, "angled" for Houston to trade him, per CBS Sports' Ken Berger.  

The Rockets overcame a slow start to go 41-41, only for the Golden State Warriors to beat them in the first round of the playoffs in five games, which was a big reason why Howard opted out of the final year of his deal with the team.

"Losing. A lot of people see me with smiles and all that stuff and think I don’t care, but I hate losing," Howard said. "I hate seeing other people stand up on the podium and hold up that trophy, and I worked so hard for it. That’s the main thing."

Now Howard will be joining a Hawks team that was the fourth seed in the Eastern Conference with 48 wins before being swept by the Cleveland Cavaliers in the conference semifinals.

But this will be a different-looking team that Howard is coming to. Atlanta dealt starting point guard Jeff Teague to the Indiana Pacers before June 23's NBA draft, and Al Horford agreed to a four-year, $113 million deal with the Boston Celtics on Saturday, per ESPN's Ramona Shelburne

So in order to get that elusive title while delivering the Hawks their first championship since 1958, when they were in St. Louis, Howard will have to play a large role in getting Atlanta over the hump and past the likes of the Cavaliers in the East. 

Stats courtesy of Basketball-Reference.com.