Dwight Howard of the Lakers in mourning after the death of his son’s mother following an epilepsy attack

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As the nation frees itself from the coronavirus pandemic, Los Angeles Lakers center Dwight Howard mourns the loss of Melissa Rios, the mother of her 6-year-old son David, he told reporters on Friday.

Rios, 31, died of an epilepsy attack on March 27 at his home in Calabasas, California.

“I have had events in my personal life that have been difficult to manage,” said Howard in a video conference. “My son’s mom died a month and a half ago and it’s extremely difficult for me to try to figure out how to talk to my 6 year old son about the situation. “

David is with Howard in Georgia, where he straddled the NBA hiatus on his 23 acre property. Howard planned to invite Rios – a real estate agent and epilepsy advocate – to spend time with him and their son in Georgia when he found out that she had died.

Howard, 34, said spending time with David and his four other children had given him comfort during a difficult time.

“Every moment counts,” said Howard. “Be grateful for every situation you have, just be grateful for life. I think we also take little things for granted and just hang out with people and stuff like that. for me just stay in the moment. Always be grateful. Always be grateful for everything you have, every little thing that happens. “

Howard said he attended Rios’ funeral with their son in Reno, Nevada. Many funeral arrangements have been limited or canceled due to coronavirus problems, and Rios, who went by Mimi, was honored by the social distancing measures in place for those who attended.

“There was no way I couldn’t be there for my son and even his family,” said Howard. “I certainly would have felt it would have been bad. She deserves it and he would deserve better if I didn’t do that. “

As the 16-year-old veteran says he is eager to return to the NBA season and continue the pursuit of the first championship in his decorated career, he realizes that the close of the league has made him available for his family.

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“It’s bittersweet because I want to play basketball, but my son needs me more than anything now,” said Howard.

More than two months have passed since the Lakers’ last game on March 10. They are progressing towards a return to normal by opening their training center on Saturday for voluntary and social distance training in accordance with NBA protocols, after having worked closely with the city, the county and state representatives. to get the green light, sources told ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne.

A “handful” of Lakers players are expected to arrive at El Segundo, Calif., On Saturday, sources told ESPN, but Howard will not be among them. He plans to stay in Georgia “until everything is clear,” then will book a commercial flight back to Los Angeles to join his team.

In the meantime, he stays in shape by boxing, training at his home (which has a swimming pool, a gym and a basketball court) and by adopting a daily routine called “One Punch Man” training, based on an anime character.

“It’s 100 pushups, 100 situps, 100 squats and [running] two miles, “said Howard. So it’s a very simple workout, but it’s more true for discipline and doing it every morning is like showing gratitude to your body and the universe and to God for the blessing of another day. So it’s more like an alarm clock. “

Howard says he’s looking forward to using this training once he’s back playing with his teammates.

“I think everyone is looking forward to coming back to play,” said Howard. “I think we all felt it was our season and it was our time. So it’s more than everyone is anxious to play, it’s like we’re sitting around waiting to come back and win, so it’s been pretty tough. “

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