Dwight Howard ready to prove he can be elite player again

ATLANTA (AP) — Dwight Howard has a new team, a new jersey number and a fresh start in his hometown.

After five mostly disappointing years with Houston and the Los Angeles Lakers after leaving Orlando, Howard says this time will be different. Atlanta is where he belongs.

The Hawks hosted a homecoming Wednesday for Howard, a three-time NBA and welcomed back guard Kent Bazemore at a youth recreation center in southwest Atlanta where Howard grew up.

Both players got emotional as they spoke in a gymnasium full of children, family members and friends.

Howard has switched his number from No. 12 to No. 8 for biblical inspiration. The number eight in the Bible signifies Resurrection and Regeneration. Howard says he’s using the summer to get in shape and “purge my heart” of resentment.

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