Former NBA star Dwight Howard sparked a debate after he shared a video of his 9-year-old son David working out on an exercise bike as he cried to stop. David is Howard’s son with his ex-girlfriend, Melissa Rios.
Howard shared the clip on Instagram, and he encouraged his son to continue as the boy cried, “I can’t! I can’t! It’s too hard!” The three-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year replied, “You can! Let’s go.”
Howard captioned the post: “In the process of being GREAT it’s going to be laughs, frowns, smiles, tears, blood, and sweat but that’s what is needed for us to succeed as individuals and also collectively as a family.”
“I’m just teaching my kids what it means to be resilient, to be determined and to have discipline. He continued, “Every day is a battle and some battles are going to be harder to win than others, but we have to fight them until we WIN!And if we WIN the day every day we’ll never lose in the end ! We have to finish every mission we begin and follow through. That’s the most important part ! Never say you can’t!”
Remember Philippians 4:13… YOU CAN and you will! Just follow through. That’s how you be Great. #workout #inspiration #wintheday.”
After the workout, Howard, who spent last season playing for the Taoyuan Leopards in the T1 League in Taiwan, told his son, “Good job!” Fans had mixed reactions to the video after it was shared by the Neighborhood Talk on Instagram.
Many saw a caring father gently pushing his son as he struggled to give up. However, a few fans thought Howard pushed his son too far.
“I’ve been working childcare for over 20 years, this is parenting and not letting your kid give up. This generation of kids are so disrespectful and lazy. This little boy is blessed to have a father that care,” replied one fan.
“Child abuse,” claimed another.
One fan asked, “Tough love or is it traumatizing?”
“I don’t get it. So every time kids cry it’s abuse?? This country needs a wake-up call or we’re gonna have adults who can’t even make a bowl of jello without having a mental breakdown,” noted another.
Howard also has four other children from previous relationships. His oldest son is 15-year-old Braylon Howard from former Orlando Magic cheerleader Royce Reed. He has 12-year-old daughter Layla Howard with ex Tiffany Render. Howard also shares 12-year-old daughter Jayde Howard with fitness model Hope Alexa and a 10-year-old son, Darren “Trey” Howard, with his ex Christine Vest.
Rios passed away following an epileptic seizure in 2020, and Howard said he struggled with how to talk to his son following his mother’s death.
“I’ve had some things happen in my personal life that has been difficult to really handle,” said Howard. “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.”
Rios was just 31 years old.