Center Dwight Howard said Monday night that he will play for the Los Angeles Lakers when the NBA season resumes later this month.
Howard had reportedly been undecided about playing due to several circumstances.
The mother of his six-year-old son died in March following an epileptic seizure. Howard has also been one of the NBA's most outspoken players about the social responsibilities the league's players have in the aftermath of George Floyd's death.
Howard said in an interview with CNN's Don Lemon on Monday night that he will play with the Lakers when the season resumes at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex near Orlando on July 30. Currently in Georgia, Howard said he will donate his salary to help "push this 'Breathe Again' movement."
"I feel like we have a great opportunity, the Lakers do, to win the title this year," Howard said. "Yes, I will be joining my team in Orlando, but during that time, we will begin a lot of work here in Atlanta and around the nation as far as making sure people don't forget about us and what's going on in our communities."
Lakers coach Frank Vogel said last week that the team did not plan to replace Howard on the roster.
"We've been in communication with Dwight the whole way," Vogel said on July 1, the deadline for teams to add veterans with more than three years of NBA experience. "We don't know what the level of participation is yet. He wants to play. We're hopeful he's able to join us. We're hopeful and optimistic that he'll be able to join us in Orlando."
The Lakers will be without point guard Avery Bradley, who has opted out of playing the remainder of the season to stay with his family and focus on community issues.
Howard issued a statement to CNN last month that read, "Basketball, or entertainment period, isn't needed at this moment, and will only be a distraction. Sure, it might not distract us the players, but we have resources at hand a majority of our community don't have. And the smallest distraction for them can start a trickle-down effect that may never stop.
"Especially with the way the climate is now. I would love nothing more than to win my very first NBA Championship. But the unity of My People would be an even bigger Championship, that's just too beautiful to pass up. What better time than now for us to be focusing on our families?"
Howard, 34, is averaging 7.5 points and 7.4 rebounds in 19.2 minutes per game for the Lakers this season. He had made two starts in 62 appearances.
The eight-time All-Star is on his fifth NBA team in the past five seasons.
--Field Level Media