Los Angeles Lakers center Dwight Howard shared his emotions Thursday with reporters about the time in 2012 when he learned that he would not play in the London Olympics.
“I was pissed off,” Howard said. “I was mad I couldn’t play in the playoffs. I was mad I couldn’t play in the Olympics. I was pissed. I was looking forward to going to London. I was looking forward to making a big run in the playoffs last season, so I wasn’t too happy about the fact that I had to have surgery and miss a lot of basketball.”
Howard, who won Olympic gold with the U.S. in the 2008 Beijing Games, missed the chance to repeat at the London Games to recover from back surgery. However, Howard said he is ready to join the team for the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
The ultimate decision of whether Howard plays is up to USA Basketball managing director Jerry Colangelo. Howard said that he has maintained a close relationship with Colangelo.
“He’s cool with me,” Howard said. “He’s always been someone that I’ve thought highly of and he’s always supported me.”
Howard said Colangelo invited him to play with 2012 team before his back injury.
“We were looking forward to it,” Howard said. “He was one of the first people that contacted me and asked me if I wanted to play. I was very excited about it. I wanted to play. He said, ‘OK.’ ”
With one piece of the roster filled out, now all Colangelo has to do is find a new head coach.
Duke basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski announced earlier this week on ESPN Radio that he would not continue his head coaching duties with Team USA.
But when the Rio de Janeiro Games roll around, Howard will be 30 years old, but for now he is not concerned about who the coach will be when that time comes.
“My only concern right now is winning a championship with the Lakers and how we can get better,” Howard said. “I can’t control what happens in the Olympics.”