Dwight Howard has watched the path of LeBron James and how his public perception improved again after winning two titles and not for explaining his decision to leave the Cleveland Cavaliers.

With James Harden and the Houston Rockets, Howard figures to be part of a contender.

"Last year, I felt like I was the villain," Howard told Yahoo Sports. "Now, I feel like I'm an even bigger villain."

Howard is relieved to be out of Los Angeles and have his future settled.

"He got hated for a lot of reasons," Howard told Yahoo. "I was really, really happy when LeBron finally won. I was unhappy that it wasn't me up there, but I was glad to see him get through that whole thing.

"I knew exactly how he felt. People putting you down, saying bad things about your character, who you are as a person. It doesn't sit well with you. When you go out on the court, you want to show them, 'Hey, this isn't who I am.'

"Here's a guy who's a great basketball player. He did something that was for him, and he did it in front of the whole world. I realized then that our issues, our problems, our flaws are out there for the world to see. You can't run from it. We have to learn from our mistakes and move forward."