David’s mom, Melissa Rios, had an epileptic seizure on March 27 at her home in Calabasas, California, according to ESPN.
Howard is currently home with his son and four other children in Georgia, where he has been training and sheltering in place during the NBA’s COVID-19 hiatus.
"I've had some things happen in my personal life that has been difficult to really handle," Howard said on a video conference call with reporters, via ESPN. "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."
While the coronavirus pandemic has limited gatherings across the country, even for funerals, Howard said he was still able to attend Rios’. The two remained close over the years, and said he was even texting with her about joining him and the kids in Georgia when he learned that she had died.
"There was no way I could not be [at the funeral] for my son and even for her family," Howard said, via ESPN. "I definitely would’ve felt like that would’ve been bad. She deserves and he would deserve better if I didn’t do that."
Howard signed a one-year, $2.5 million deal with the Lakers this season, and was averaging 7.5 points and 7.4 rebounds off the bench when play was suspended. The 34-year-old — who earned eight All-Star nods at beginning of his 16-year career, most of them with the Orlando Magic — said he will keep training in Georgia despite stay-at-home restrictions being lifted in the state and the Lakers’ team facility set to open in the coming days.
Not only does he want to wait for things with the coronavirus to clear up, but he knows he has to be there for his son.
“It’s bittersweet because I do want to play basketball, but my son right now needs me more than anything,” Howard said, via ESPN.
Though it hasn’t been easy, getting to spend time at home with his children has definitely helped him get through it.
"Every moment counts,” Howard said, via ESPN. “Be grateful for every situation that you have, just be grateful for life. I think we also take for granted the little things and just spending time with people and stuff like that. And you know after having all these situations, it's like, reconfirming to me just stay in the moment. Always be grateful. Always be grateful for everything you have, every little thing that happens."
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