Dwight Howard talks about joining the Atlanta Hawks

Dwight Howard hears the critics and the doubters. He has a message about his new team and his future as he settles in back in Atlanta.

"I think we're going to be great," said Howard. "I'm really looking forward to the season, not just this season but finishing my career at home."

The 30-year-old is a new member of the Atlanta Hawks, agreeing to a free agent deal with his hometown club last week. Howard turned pro after finishing his high school career at Southwest Atlanta Christian Academy. He's been tied to the Hawks during several other free agent periods, but says he's a different man this time around, and it's a different team he'll be joining. Playing back in Atlanta is something he's always wanted.

"I'm at home," said Howard. "I get an opportunity to play in front of my family and friends, but also just go out there and dominate. That's what I'm excited about."

The 8-time NBA All-Star spoke to reporters at halftime of Tuesday's Atlanta Dream game -- he's long been a regular at WNBA games at Philips Arena. Howard is aware of the critics of his play, and says he is eager to prove himself all over again with the Hawks.

"I think I had some years where I played pretty good but because of things that were being said, you know, people look at all that stuff instead of the basketball," said Howard. "I totally understand it, but it has upset me, just to hear all the lies and stuff that I can't control. One thing about it, this is a brand new team, brand new situation for myself and I'm looking forward to playing."

Howard also talked about Al Horford, who just left the Hawks in free agency. He wishes Horford well but says he's not upset by Horford's decision.

"It was his decision, I actually spoke to him before and after he made the decision," said Howard. "My message to him was, 'hey, you've got to do what's best for you.'"