In last year’s eventful NBA season, there was one moment that drew massive attention for a couple of days in November. That was when, per The Inquisitr, a man named Masin Elijé sent a series of tweets alleging that he had a sexual relationship with veteran NBA center Dwight Howard. Elijé also claimed to have been both harassed and catfished by Howard’s pastor.
Howard said nothing at the time, and his then-team, the Washington Wizards, announced a few days later that Howard was undergoing surgery which ended up ending his season.
Now, Howard has spoken out about the episode in an interview with Fox Sports‘ Kristine Leahy.
In the interview, an excerpt of which was posted to Twitter by Complex Sports Tuesday, Howard first stated that the incident “very much set me free.” He went on to say, however, that he doesn’t know and has never even met Elijé. He added that he saw “hate” directed at him, and “I think that liberated me.”
As for his self-identification?
“I’m not gay,” Howard said. “There’s people who have different problems in life and they have to hide. They have to put on the mask every day, and it’s like, I don’t wanna wear no mask, I just wanna be.” Howard had earlier denied Elijé’s claims in a separate interview with TMZ. The two are now suing one another, per Newsone.
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Howard, who at the time that he entered the league as a teenager was vocal about being a devout Christian, had as of 2018 fathered five children by five different women, per Sports Illustrated.
The interview comes at a time when the 33-year-old Howard’s NBA future is very much in question. The center, who has played for four different teams in the last four years, played just nine games last year for the Wizards. Washington traded Howard to the Memphis Grizzlies last month but, per CBS Sports, the Grizzlies are attempting to trade Howard and will likely release him if they’re not able to.
Per The Inquisitr, Howard said this week that he “wouldn’t mind” ending up back in Los Angeles, either with the Lakers or Clippers. Howard’s last stint with the Lakers, which lasted for a single season in 2012-2013, ended in disaster, although none of Howard’s teammates from his first go-around with the Lakers remains with the team today. The Lakers, though, have three centers already in Anthony Davis, DeMarcus Cousins, and JaVale McGee.