Dwight Howard, star of the NBA’s Orlando Magic, recently opened up to Esquire magazine about fatherhood, a topic he has often refused to publicly speak on. Howard has a child with Royce Reed, who has been part of VH1′s “Basketball Wives” since the series started.

The two have gone through a public custody battle over their young son, and Howard has put a gag order on Reed preventing her from mentioning his name on the VH1. In the interview with Esquire, he comments on the importance fatherhood has in his life and why he thinks other athletes neglect their responsibilities to their children.

Esquire: I know it’s a subject you haven’t wanted to talk about publicly, but is fatherhood a part of your life?

Dwight Howard: It’s very important. Hopefully me and my son’s mom will come to a better agreement for my son. When I do see him, we have the best time in the world. He acts just like me. He tries to run like me. He looks back and smiles like me. Fatherhood is great and it will get better. He’s young. He’s gonna need his father in his life. People say you don’t need a father to be successful. I take offense to that. I had an argument with my mom about Father’s Day and why it’s not celebrated like Mother’s Day.

Esquire: I’ve been around the NBA enough as a writer to see the women who would give anything just to get impregnated. And I’ve seen the men who didn’t care how many kids they had in how many different places, just as long as they had someone to f**k on the road. Pardon my French.

DH: I understand. With some of my teammates, they try so hard to be around their kid, and then the mother of their child makes it so hard. A lot of guys just say, “I’m not gonna deal with it.”

Esquire: It’s always the kids who pay the price.

DH: I would never, ever desert my child. A lot of my friends didn’t have fathers growing up, and they were very upset that their fathers weren’t around. I was lucky to have mine around.

Do you think Dwight is right in his reasoning on why some athletes (or fathers, in general) fail to take responsibility for their children?

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