Why Orlando Magic Allowed Tobias Harris To Wear Dwight Howard’s No. 12

By Michael Terrill
Jeff Griffith-USA TODAY Sports

The Orlando Magic got a solid player in return for shooting guard J.J. Redick when they traded him to the Milwaukee Bucks at the NBA deadline. Small forward Tobias Harris will be a great asset for the Magic for a very long time and the organization seems to think so as well, which is why they have allowed him to wear Dwight Howard’s No. 12.

Many fans have questioned why Orlando would allow someone else to wear the number that Howard made famous in his eight years with the team. Considering Howard is the franchise’s career leader in points (11,435), rebounds (8,072), rebounds per game (13.0), blocks (1,344), minutes (22,471), true shooting percentage (.601) and win shares (87.5) among several other categories, it might make sense to hold off on giving his number out to the first person that requests it. One would think with all of these all-time records that his No. 12 would be sitting up in the rafters where it belongs.

However, the fact of the matter is Orlando has never retired a number in the history of the organization. That means Magic greats including Anfernee “Penny” Hardway, Shaquille O’Neal, Nick Anderson and Tracy McGrady can have their numbers be worn by any other player on the team. I am sure the Magic plan on retiring Howard’s jersey at some point, which could be an awkward day for Harris, but they should really think about honoring the outstanding players who graced Orlando’s court for years before the 27-year-old center came about.

The way Howard demanded to be traded will certainly have some lasting effects on the organization as well as the people of the city. Giving the jersey to Harris was clearly a way for the fan base to move on from their beloved All-Star and start rooting for a new one.

Harris has all of the makings to be a great player and there is no question in my mind he will be a star the Magic can hang their hats on. The only problem is if he does turn out to be as awesome as I think he will, it could be the LeBron James-Michael Jordan fiasco all over again in which King James wore the No. 23 when he was with the Cleveland Cavaliers. The issue was that James was not branching out on his own and instead tried to use the number Jordan made famous to garner attention.

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