Dwight Howard defended his son’s tough workout routine during an appearance on “Way Up With Angela Yee” on July 25.
The former Los Angeles Lakers player was criticized earlier this month after sharing a video of his 9-year-old son David working out and crying as his father pushed him not to quit.
“I can’t! I can’t! It’s too hard!” cried the young boy, to which his father replied, “You can! Let’s go.”
During a discussion about parenting, Yee brought up the video and other notable athletes who became great in their careers likely due to tough father figures.
(4:00)“The fathers are the ones that get bashed for pushing the kids,” Howard said, before stating that fathers or males are viewed differently than mothers for “pushing too hard.”
He then made reference to the Williams sisters, Venus and Serena, who were raised and rigorously trained by their father Richard Williams; and the late Joe Jackson, who introduced the world to the Jackson 5. He said he “had a vision for his kids” the same way they did for theirs.
“Everybody else that got something to say, they don’t see what he see and if he didn’t push his kids and tell them, ‘Hey, I’m gonna guide you in this area or I need you to do this,’ they wouldn’t have been Michael Jackson, Janet Jackson, Tito,” Howard continued. “They wouldn’t have been the Jackson 5. They would have been something else.”
The former NBA star went on to say that he’s experienced both good and bad in his life, but he knows what it feels like to be at the top.
“I came in at 18. So why wouldn’t I give my kids the game from a young age? Why wouldn’t I train up my kids in a way that they should go so they get older they won’t fall from it? Who else supposed to teach they kids to be great? Somebody else? No. Their father. Or their mother.”
Howard said he “pushed” himself to be great as a child who told his father at 10 years old that he wanted to be a first-round pick in the NBA draft.
“I see who my son is going to be in the future. Why would I allow him to quit or say he can’t when he’s only 9? If he quits now, he’ll quit later,” he explained.
Therefore, the 37-year-old dad feels it’s important to teach his children from an early age.
“The world don’t care about you. They’ll eat you up,” he stated. “They don’t care. So you have to learn all this stuff at a young age, and you have to be mentally and physically strong, and I’m gonna be here to love you through the whole process.”
Regarding the video of David working out on an exercise bike, Howard revealed that his son was on his eighth set and he was giving him a mental test.
“The thing I was teaching my kids that week was can’t is not in y’all vocabulary,” he added.
Fans responded after The Shade Room shared a clip of the interview on Instagram.
“If I was a celebrity, I would hide my kids like Tyler Perry. Wouldn’t even know what they look like,” noted one.
“How tf do ppl still think its ok to tell people how to raise they own kid?”
“Let him train his kid how he wants,” added another.
One fan noted that greatness comes with a price.
“If you really want your kids to turn out like Serena Williams, Beyoncé or Michael Jackson you really have to push them, most people don’t understand this.”
David is Howard’s son with his late ex-girlfriend, Melissa Rios, who passed away from an epileptic seizure back in 2020. He also has four other children from previous relationships. The eldest is 15-year-old Braylon with former Orlando Magic cheerleader Royce Reed.
Regarding one of his kids’ mothers who regularly speaks against him anytime he gets media attention or goes viral, Howard said, “It’s just an opinion” but it hurts him to know his kids may one day see it. He added that he will never speak ill or “negative” about his kids’ mothers no matter what they do or how he feels.
Howard also shares a 12-year-old daughter, Layla, with ex-girlfriend Tiffany Render, and another 12-year-old daughter, Jayde, with fitness model Hope Alexa. In addition, he also has a 10-year-old son, Darren “Trey” Howard, with his ex-girlfriend Christine Vest.