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Dwight Howard leaves past behind

New Lakers center makes his debut and pushes forward after a challenging year

Updated: October 22, 2012, 6:48 PM ET
By Ramona Shelburne | ESPNLosAngeles.com

LOS ANGELES -- It has been a while since it was all that much fun to be Dwight Howard. His back has hurt for nearly a year. Pain so bad it radiated down his leg and made it difficult to stand up on his toes. Then there was a year's worth of haggling with the Orlando Magic, national media and seemingly everyone in between over whether he'd spend the rest of his NBA days there.

His reputation was battered. His smile grew strained. The game was fun but not much else was.

Finally, at around ...

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