Dwight Howard is the latest pro athlete to buy a farm

By Alex Butler  |  Sept. 20, 2017 at 11:02 AM
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Sept. 20 (UPI) -- There are many great takeaways from a recent profile about Dwight Howard. One of them is that he is invested into a career in farming.

The Sports Illustrated piece debuted Tuesday. In the article, Howard talks about his early life, faith, struggles off of the court and basketball career.

Howard, 31, has made more than $167 million on the court during his 13-year NBA tenure. But the 6-foot-11, 265-pound center wants to go back to his roots when it comes to life after basketball.

"My dad grew up in the country, and whenever we drove to my grandma's house, I was always fascinated by the farms we passed, how neat everything was," Howard told Sports Illustrated. "I want to go out there, milk the cows, work the field. I'll be able to tell you what watermelon came from what row."

Howard bought a 700-acre farm this summer. His 99-year plan includes retirement and spending more time with the cows, hogs, turkeys, deer and donkeys on the north Georgia property.

File photo by John Angelillo/UPI

His garden in Suwanee features squash, okra, tomatoes, figs, eggplant and cantaloupe, Sports Illustrated reported. Howard told the magazine that he plans to have an entirely organic farm with no pesticides. He wants his crops in grocery stores and to help craft a program for students at Georgia and Georgia Tech to come and study his soil.

Howard joined the Charlotte Hornets this summer in a trade with the Atlanta Hawks.

He isn't the first NBA player to take the route of farming in retirement.

Darko Millicic, the No. 2 overall pick in the 2003 NBA Draft -- he was picked after LeBron James and before Carmelo Anthony, Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade -- is also committed to living off of the land.

The 32-year-old Serbian left the NBA after the 2012-2013 season and now owns more than 100 acres of field with apple trees, which he exports to Dubai, Russia and Africa, according to ESPN. He produces more than 10,000 pounds of fruit annually.

In fact, you don't even have to stick to the NBA to find former athletes turning to a life on the farm.

Jason Brown, a former NFL center, bought a 1,000-acre farm in North Carolina in 2012. He learned how to farm from YouTube. Brown donates his sweet potatoes and cucumbers to local food pantries.

Chicago Cubs pitcher Wade Davis also bought 160 acres of farmland in Marlboro, N.Y., in 2014.

Green Bay Packers star Jordy Nelson, former Texas Rangers pitcher Ross Ohlendorf, former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Giovanni Carmazzi and retired NHL star Brian Sutter also have farms.

Former Denver Nuggets forward Raef LaFrentz retired in 2009 and owns a farm in Iowa.

Farmer Dwight and the Hornets begin the 2017 regular season with an Oct. 18 clash against the Detroit Pistons at Little Caesers Arena.

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