Dwight Howard became the focus of gossip sites and internet rumors last year when a man claimed he was in a romantic relationship with the NBA star, and Howard says he learned a lot about himself from a situation that was very difficult for him.
Howard sat down for an interview with FOX Sports 1’s “Fair Game with Kristine Leahy” this week, and he opened up about the allegations. A man named Masin Elije, now the author of a book entitled “Industry Hoe,” accused Howard of cheating on him with a transgender man. Elije provided screenshots of direct messages he claimed he exchanged with Howard, and he later said he was physically threatened by Howard’s pastor and some other people close to the eight-time NBA All-Star.
Howard told Leahy he was angry because he had no idea why someone he had never met would make up an elaborate story about him, but he said the experience “liberated me.”
"I'm not gay… It hurt at first to go through it. I sat at home and I was like 'I never want to come outside again.'" @DwightHoward spoke on the allegations that he was gay.
— Complex Sports (@ComplexSports) July 16, 2019
“I think that liberated me, because I saw how a lot of people would feel, whether they’re gay or straight or have issues,” Howard said. “People are afraid to be who they are.
“That situation made me realize, ‘You’re not like this, so just be you. Be free.’ I’m not gay. There’s a lot of people who are, and they have to hide. There’s people who have mental issues, and they have to hide. People have different problems in life, and they have to hide and have to put on a mask every day.”
Howard said he sat at home alone for the most part over a two-month span following the rumors, thinking about “who I am, who do I want to be (and) where do I want my life to go.”
“It hurt at first to go through it. I sat at home and I’m like, ‘Man, I never want to come outside again,'” he said.
The overall message from Howard is that he is a better person for having gone through that situation. The 33-year-old recently explained some other ways in which he has changed over the past several years, so he is clearly trying to make his pitch to teams. That is likely part of the reason he agreed to the interview with Leahy.