T.J. Simers

Lakers' Dwight Howard steps up to line, fields questions on future

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"I have only one problem and it's between my ears," he said, while admitting he visited a Lakers' psychiatrist. "I just think too much."

They moved to three-point territory for a game of "around the world," advancing from spot to spot after making a three-pointer.

Kelzer quickly left Howard behind, yelling to him, "How's your world doing?"

It was all good, Howard singing and rolling with every trash jab, although admitting he no longer intends to be a people-pleaser.

"I can't do it anymore," he said. "I can't please everybody."

What prompted the change?

"When I came back from my shoulder injury, some didn't think I was giving my all," he said. "And nobody wanted to hear what I said about coming off back surgery. It wasn't fair to me. I was on a walker and four months later playing basketball. I played hurt."

Once Howard felt better, the Lakers' record noticeably improved, and yet some still do not acknowledge his value.

"One year ago I couldn't do this," he said while standing on one foot. "I was so limited. I couldn't lift, sprint or shoot. This summer I'll shoot 1,000 shots every day."

The poor rims, they're in for such a beating.

"You watch," he said.

"I don't see many Atlanta games," I told him.

The media can't seem to stop guessing where Howard will land. Some report they know what he's thinking, although this was his first interview since the Lakers' quick end to the season.

"I have no idea what people are saying," he said. "I don't pay attention to the good, bad or the ugly. Or else I couldn't live.

"I locked myself in my house last year, but no more. I feel so much better now, healthy, more fun to come and I know I can make a difference next season."

In Dallas?

Just for the record, he doesn't always smile.

The daughter and Howard continued shooting for almost two hours, or as long as it took him to finally beat her.

Between missed shots, I asked why he hasn't committed to the Lakers.

"It's free agency and I have the opportunity to choose where I'm going to play," he said. "God opens doors, and I'm relying on my faith to direct me.

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