The stigma surrounding male professional athletes as fathers can be disheartening, but for Dwight Howard of the Orlando Magic, being a dad to his 4-year-old son, Braylon isn’t something that he takes lightly, and he wants everyone to know it.
In the November issue of Esquire, the NBA superstar opens up about fatherhood, how he hopes “it will get better,” and what he says is the real reason some pros end up not seeing their children.
“It’s very important,” Howard tells the magazine of his role as a father. “Hopefully me and my son’s mom will come to a better agreement for my son.
When I do see him, we have the best time in the world. He acts just like me. He tries to run like me. He looks back and smiles like me.
“Fatherhood is great and it will get better,” says Howard, adding that despite what society says, his son is “gonna need his father in his life.”
“People say you don’t need a father to be successful. I take offense to that. I had an argument with my mom about Father’s Day and why it’s not celebrated like Mother’s Day,” he adds.
Painfully aware of the large number of professional athletes that don’t have relationships with their children, Howard argues that not every player is, well…a player, and that many of them make an effort to be in the lives of the children that they’ve fathered.
“With some of my teammates, they try so hard to be around their kid, and then the mother of their child makes it so hard,” Howard explains. “A lot of guys just say, ‘I’m not gonna deal with it.'”
For him, however, not “dealing with it” isn’t an option.
“I would never, ever desert my child,” says Dwight. “A lot of my friends didn’t have fathers growing up, and they were very upset that their fathers weren’t around. I was lucky to have mine around.”
For more from Dwight Howard, check out the latest issue of Esquire, on newsstands now.