ATLANTA - The Atlanta Hawks formally introduced Dwight Howard as the newest member of the team at a news conference Wednesday morning.
"I'm just happy to be home," Howard said at the event.
Howard, 30, agreed to a free agent deal with his hometown club two weeks ago.
"Thank you for giving me a chance, thank you for believing in me," Howard said Wednesday. "To get back to the top, you gotta get back to your roots."
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 said 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.
"This is a really new beginning for me and I'm happy to share that with my loved ones," Howard said with tears in his eyes.
Howard has worn number 12 his entire career, but announced he'll be wearing number 8 for the Hawks.
"Change is good," he said.
Howard is aware of the critics of his play, and said he is eager to prove himself all over again with the Hawks.