05/31/2011 09:09 am ET | Updated Jul 31, 2011

Dwight Howard Wants To Stay With Orlando Magic, 'Start Own Path'

Dwight Howard told the Orlando Sentinel on Monday that he wants to start his own path and his preference is to stay with the Orlando Magic.

In a one-on-one interview during a free barbecue for Magic fans, the all-star center talked about how he doesn't want to follow in Shaquille O'Neal's footsteps. O'Neal left Orlando and signed with the Los Angeles Lakers after the 1995-1996 season.

"I'm not trying to run behind nobody like Shaq or be behind somebody else," Howard said. "I want to start my own path and I want people to follow my path and not just follow somebody else's path. I want to have my own path, and I want to start that here in Orlando."

Howard, who doesn't become a free agent until 2012, also said that he "can't do it alone" and he needs "the right teammates."

Earlier in May, Howard responded to speculation about his future by ripping the Orlando Sentinel for writing "dumb articles."

The Magic fell to the Atlanta Hawks in the first round of the playoffs.