Dwight Howard records emotional video after winning first NBA championship

Howard cursed a couple times through tears of joy and closed telling fans, 'You're already a champion.'

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NBA veteran Dwight Howard recorded a video expressing teary-eyed joy after winning his first championship ring Sunday night. 

Howard has played center in the league since being the top pick in the 2004 draft. This year marked his 16th season of professional sports. A three-time Defensive Player of the Year, Howard had made it to the finals with the Orlando Magic in 2009, but his team never secured the crown. 

Dwight Howard of the Los Angeles Lakers expresses his joy in a hug with teammate LeBron James after their squad wins the 2020 NBA Championship in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. (Photo by Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images)

In his video, he told viewers to “don’t ever give up on your dreams … Just keep fighting, I swear to God, don’t ever give up on yourself. Look at this s–t. I’m sorry for cursing to all the kids out there. Bro, listen, don’t ever give up on yourself, no matter how hard it gets.” 

As he spoke, Howard was clutching the Larry O’Brien trophy. He closed the clip by saying, “You’re already a champion.” 

Critics often blasted Howard for a lack of hardware, especially as it seemed that he would near the end of a long career without winning a championship. In 2012, he joined the Lakers in an effort to go for the gold, that prospect was once again thwarted. 

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After that season loss, he tweeted that he hoped that he would get the chance to “make it up” to Los Angeles, and this season — four teams later — he did. 

The Los Angeles Lakers won their 17th NBA title this season while playing in unprecedented times. The season took place inside the “bubble” set up in Orlando, Florida, where players, officials and team staff were isolated in a small complex to protect them from the coronavirus pandemic. 

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Team president Jeannie Buss said the tumultuous season, which even saw a delay in play amid the pandemic and police shootings, brought her team together. 

“That is what families do for each other,” Buss said. “Lift each other up when they feel like they can’t go on.”

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Before presenting the championship trophy to the Lakers, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver talked about the challenging season. 

“We found a way to play through a pandemic, keep everyone safe and put a spotlight on these critically important [social justice] issues,” Silver said. “For that, every team deserves to be celebrated.”

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