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Howard wants to be like LeBron - villain to champion

Dwight Howard is hoping to do what LeBron James has done with his career.

Dwight Howard did LeBron James a favor.


LeBron was the NBA's most hated player when he made his "Decision" in the summer of 2010.


But now Howard has taken over that role.


He first began to irritate fans during his troubles with the Orlando Magic. Then, after spending one season with the Los Angeles Lakers, he decided to make another sudden move and join the Houston Rockets.  


"Last year, I felt like I was the villain," Howard told Yahoo Sports. "Now, I feel like I'm an even bigger villain."


Many were happy to see LeBron fail to win a championship in his first season with the Miami Heat, but after winning back-to-back titles, he's shut up the critics.


Howard is hoping to do the same in his career.


"I was really, really happy when LeBron finally won," told Yahoo Sports. "I was unhappy that it wasn't me up there, but I was glad to see him get through that whole thing."


Despite being hated by many, Howard says he has always just tried to do the right thing.


"I didn't want to hurt people," he said. "You're stuck in this place where you want to do what's best for you, but, at that same time, you don't want to hurt people.


"I'm happy all that is over with, and I'm in a better place physically and emotionally."


Howard's decision to leave the Lakers has been heavily criticized by several of the franchise's legends.


One of the Lakers' greats not afraid to express his opinion the past few months has been Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.


But Howard feels like he's more suited from learning from a Rockets legend.


"I felt like working with Kareem, I'd have to change my game," he said. "Working with Hakeem [Olajuwon] – who did it with quickness, speed, explosiveness – that's more to my game; that's more where I want to be.


"That's no knock on Kareem, but I felt like Hakeem will be better for me."


On a young and talented Rockets team, Howard may finally get his shot to get a ring against LeBron in the Heat in the NBA Finals.


"This was my best chance to win now," Howard said. "I know by saying that, people say, 'You're putting too much pressure on yourself,' but that's what this is about now.