Horford denies Hawks fans, Howard led to him leaving Atlanta


Al Horford was quick to defend Atlanta fans after his father said the centre left for the Boston Celtics because he did not feel appreciated by Hawks supporters, while also denying Dwight Howard played a role in his departure.

After spending all nine of his NBA seasons in Atlanta, four-time All-Star Horford opted to join the Celtics on July 2 on a four-year deal reportedly worth $113million.

Shortly after agreeing the move to Boston, Horford's father claimed his son made the switch due to the "empty seats" in Atlanta. But the 30-year-old rubbished that reasoning, insisting the fans had nothing to do with his exit.

"That made me really upset," Horford told the Atlanta Journal Constitution. "I was angry when I heard about that because I never felt that way.

"I've been here a long time. I've actually gotten to know a lot of our fans, a lot of our season-ticket holders with the Hawks. They've always been great to me. I've always been very content and happy with the way they've treated me and my family.

"Parents are sometimes a little more passionate about their sons and daughters. I can relate because I have a son now. So my dad... with him, sometimes he would come to the games and get frustration. His frustrations don't reflect on me with the fan base."

Horford also denied that Hawks recruit Howard was one of the reasons he left.

"No, no, no. Not at all. I don't have a problem with Dwight at all," Horford added.

"I think that he is a great player and he has a lot of ability and a lot of potential. It has nothing to do with not wanting to play with Dwight.

"I don't know if you remember but there was a time when I wanted to play power forward. With a guy like him, that would have been easier. It [leaving] had nothing to do with Dwight. He's a good guy."