July 18, 2019 at 12:56 pm EDT | by Mariah Cooper
NBA star Dwight Howard opens up about sexuality rumors
Dwight Howard. (Screenshot via Twitter)

NBA star Dwight Howard, who plays center for the Memphis Grizzlies, addressed rumors about his sexuality in an interview on “Fair Game with Kristine Leahy.”

Author Masin Elije, who is gay, filed a suit against Howard claiming that he broke up with Howard after discovering he was sexually involved with other men and transgender women. Howard has denied the claims and told Leahy the accusations “hurt at first.”

“I’m not gay,” Howard, who previously played for the Washington Wizards, says. “It’s a lot of people who are, and they have to hide. And there’s people who have mental issues, and they have to hide, it’s people who have different problems in life, they have to hide, they have to put on a mask every day. I don’t want to wear no mask. I just wanna be.”

He added that the experience helped him to understand why people are afraid to come out.

“I saw all the hate, the pure hate from people that I’ve never met before just pile up, everywhere I went, against me,” Howard says. “I think that liberated me, because I saw how a lot of people would feel whether they’re gay or straight, people are afraid to be who they are, they’re afraid to just step out and be, because they’re afraid of what other people might say about them. And so that situation made you realize ‘you’re not like this,’ but just be you, be free.”

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