At 34 years of age, NBA veteran Dwight Howard has amassed quite a resume of accomplishments. Eight NBA All-Star caps and a gold medal at the 2008 Summer Games in China, the 2004 first overall pick won his first NBA Finals championship with the Los Angeles Lakers in October 2020.
Through all of that, the Atlanta-born center is building a legacy of future stars. Howard is the father to five kids, sharing them with their five mothers. Though fans of the game are familiar with Howard's accomplishments, few may know about the children lucky enough to call him dad.
Read on for some more context about the famous family.
1. Howard revealed the best thing about raising five children
In a 2019 interview with journalist Graham Bensinger, Howard disclosed the best thing about having a huge family.
"The smile, the hugs, the 'I love you, daddy.' That's better than me dunking the ball a million times on somebody," Howard exclaimed.
"Make sure you are established, make sure you love yourself and you're responsible for your actions before bringing another child in the world," the eight-time All Star said when asked what lessons he wants to instill on his children.
"Despite having five children with five moms, they're the best things that ever happened to me," Howard said.
2. However, Howard admits he could have been more 'responsible'
Raised in a Christian household, Howard admits that when he entered the league, those traditional values quickly went away upon receiving his first big paycheck. Speaking with Sports Illustrated's Lee Jenkins in 2017, he touched on some hard truths about his playboy ways and how that resulted five children from five different mothers.
"I was ashamed because I’d talked so much about being a Christian, professed my faith to the whole world, and here I was with a baby out of wedlock," Howard admitted, remembering the birth of his first child Braylon in 2007. "My parents judged me. A lot of people judged me. I felt like I shouldn’t even be out in public because everyone looked at me as a hypocrite. I felt like I didn’t need my relationship with God anymore, and that caused a lot of pain."
Howard continued: "It’s a tough situation, obviously. I should have been more responsible. I messed up. I sinned. But I won’t look at any of them as a mistake. They’re all a blessing to me.”
3. One of the mothers of his children tragically passed away in May
On May 15, ESPN reported that Howard was mourning the death of the mother to his 6-year-old son David. Per the outlet, Melissa Rios died of an epileptic seizure on March 27 at the age of 31.
"I've had some things happen in my personal life that has been difficult to really handle," Howard shared with reporters via video. "My son's mom, she had passed away a month and a half ago and it's extremely difficult for me to try to understand how to talk to my son, who's 6 years old, just about the whole situation."
Because of COVID-19, scheduling a traditional funeral was tough. However, the veteran says he and his son were able to properly hold a homegoing for Rios thanks to social distancing measures.
"There was no way I could not be there for my son, and even for her family," the former Houston Rocket said. "I definitely would've felt like that would've been bad. She deserves and he would deserve better if I didn't do that that."
Though Howard has elected to not reveal too much about his children, one thing definitely remains clear: his focused has always been to be the best father he can be, no matter what obstacles he faces.