Lakers' Dwight Howard Says It Was 'Pointless' to Report Him to NBA Hotline

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistJuly 18, 2020

Los Angeles Lakers center Dwight Howard gestures during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Philadelphia 76ers Tuesday, March 3, 2020, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press

Los Angeles Lakers center Dwight Howard spoke out Saturday about getting reported to the NBA Campus Hotline for not wearing a mask in the NBA bubble in the Orlando, Florida, area.

According to Mark Medina of USA Today, Howard said: "It would be pointless for anyone to say anything. I understand being outside of it, the mask is very important. So I won't say it's not needed. But since we're here in this bubble, I feel like we're safe."

Howard added"I think everyone is making a big deal out of it. I feel like we're in the safest place in Orlando. We're getting tested every day and are around each other."

On Wednesday, Howard took to Instagram Live to reveal he was reported for not wearing a mask and received a warning from the NBA. Howard said, "Somebody told on me."

Per ESPN's Dave McMenamin, Lakers head coach Frank Vogel expressed support for the idea of wearing a mask in designated areas: "[My] reaction is that we all should be wearing masks in and around the hotel lobby. And the areas that we're being asked to wear a mask, we should wear a mask. And he's doing so now."

McMenamin noted there are no concrete punishments for players who break protocol, as the NBA will handle it on a case-by-case basis.

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The 2019-20 NBA season was suspended in March because of the coronavirus pandemic, which led the NBA to create a "bubble" that includes only players, coaches and essential personnel to finish the season.

Beginning later this month, 22 NBA teams will play eight regular-season games each. The top eight teams in each conference will then compete in the playoffs.

Howard and the Lakers are the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference at 49-14 and seem likely to keep that spot since they hold a 5.5-game lead over the second-place Los Angeles Clippers.

The 34-year-old Howard is an eight-time All-Star and three-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year, but he has become a journeyman in recent years.

Howard has seemingly found a home in L.A., though, as he averaged 7.5 points, 7.4 rebounds and 1.2 blocks in 62 games as a key bench player for the Lakers before the suspension of the season.

The Lakers and Clippers will meet in one of the first games of the NBA restart, as they are scheduled to clash July 30.