Los Angeles Lakers forward Dwight Howard, right, looks at the referee after being ejected from the game while playing against the Toronto Raptors during first half NBA basketball action in Toronto on Sunday Jan. 20, 2013. (AP Photo/THE CANADIAN PRESS,Nathan Denette)

It is time to come to the defense of Dwight Howard.

Throughout the 2012-13 NBA season, Dwight Howard has been called everything but a child of God. He has been ridiculed for not playing through pain by legends of the game, maligned by fans of the game and challenged by the old dog of the Lakers who wants nothing more than to win another championship and for Howard to outwardly display the intensity he shows on a game-to-game basis. He is arguably the most talked-about player in the NBA and for reasons that are not becoming. Despite the fact that he has not fully recovered from back surgery, he is still the best center in the League.

Even with that, he is the face of a team that has taken the word “underachieving” and bastardized it to levels that are rare. Hell, he got cussed out in the All-Star Game for Christ’s sake. Granted, I didn’t watch the Game, but that is what I heard, and sure, he makes millions of dollars and works in California, but money and where you live do not always equate to happiness and it is seen in the way he carries himself just about any time the man is in front of a camera this season.

Dwight Howard is going through it right now and a case can be made that his 2012-13 season, in terms of the vitriol, fury and anger that has come at his head, surpasses that of LeBron James during his final year in Cleveland. Granted, the parameters are not entirely the same, but since they are both superstars, that is why that is the comparison is being used. I, myself, have participated in plenty of discussions, bashing him and his tomfoolery, but I recently had an epiphany.