Has there been a better example recently than Dwight Howard on how a couple of bad choices and comments can completely change someone’s reputation?
It wasn’t long ago that Dwight was the most dominant center in the game of basketball, winning numerous Defensive Player of the Year awards, appearing in every All-Star game, wearing Superman costumes in the dunk contest, and taking the Orlando Magic to the NBA Finals.
After seasons of being the go-to-guy, Howard felt he was being asked to do too much and wanted help. He also wanted a new coach, and his complaints became top news stories across the sports world. Many accused him of getting coach Stan Van Gundy fired from the Magic.
Then the controversy of whether he would remain a member of the Magic or not started to unfold, with Dwight going back and forth and not being able to commit to one thing. Ultimately in the end, Howard decided to test the free agency waters. After many predicted him to go to the Brooklyn Nets, he decided to join Kobe Bryant along with Steve Nash on the Los Angeles Lakers.
This led to the most dysfunctional season in Lakers history, with Mike Brown being fired, Mike D’Antoni being hired then disrespected by Howard and other players, and constant bickering amongst teammates. There was no chemistry, Dwight was banged up with his head not in the game, and embarrassment ensued.
Now in the midst of the Lakers offseason, the decision of Dwight Howard has once again become top news. His dislike of his current coach has become head news, but most importantly, Dwight’s immaturity is top news.
Howard should have never left Orlando, for many reasons. He claims he wants to be “the guy” in an NBA offense, which he was in Orlando. He has also showed that he can’t handle negative criticism from the fans and media, which there was none of for a majority of his time in Orlando.
Howard has shown that he is unsure of what he wants in terms of basketball, and also that he doesn’t have the mental maturity to be an NBA star. These things weren’t a problem in Orlando because it was the “Dwight” show. It wasn’t a malicious market like Los Angeles or New York, and the fans loved him there.
Dwight most likely would have had a statue built outside of Amway Arena at the end of his career. They made a Finals appearance with him as the centerpiece, and you have to figure they could have brought someone in to help him win a championship once the cap room cleared up. The most important thing is that he would have always been loved no matter what the outcome, and I think that’s what Dwight wants the most out of anything.
Who knows where Dwight will end up next season. He could possibly still be a Laker, but there are talks of the Houston Rockets or the Dallas Mavericks as possible destinations. Regardless of where he ends up, Dwight’s main goal should be to grow as a professional and also to grow up as a person.