LeBron James, Dwight Howard: What A Difference A Few Years Makes
Hate it or love it, Dwight Howard is on top. He was probably on top of your favorite team’s wish list, and you probably hated him for it, especially after word came that he may or may not announce his free agency decision to the world via Twitter.
Luckily for him, USA Today broke the news of him going to the Houston Rockets before he could break the camel’s back. Then, Howard and his indecisiveness decided to crush the entire camel. And the stories started writing themselves.
Hours after it leaked that Howard was Houston bound, reports began to surface that he was 50-50 on where he wanted to sign; he allegedly had 30 million reasons why.
Boy, have things changed…
Three years ago, Howard was a media darling. His smile was intoxicating, he was still pretty fresh off an NBA Finals appearance and he was flying through the air like a caped crusader. He was averaging 23 points and 14 rebounds as the league’s No. 1 center.
Howard was the guy that everyone wanted to build around while LeBron James wallowed in the stench of The Decision. James was an instant villain. His banners were dropped, his jerseys were burned and his legacy was in doubt. The whole world fell in love with hating him until he added a gold medal, two championships and four MVP awards – two league MVP awards and two Finals MVP awards.
But as James’ image soared, the sport needed someone to take on the Dark Knight role. You know, figuratively, “die and be a hero, or live long enough to see yourself become a villain.” And D12 proved more than capable. We got a glimpse of that, in 2011, when he couldn’t decide if to stay in Orlando, go to Los Angeles or hold out for Brooklyn.
Instead of avoiding the backlash, he walked right into it, like he was welcoming the Dwight-mare, which irked the fans, as his mastery of the flip-flop dragged out from 2011 to the summer of 2013.
Fortunately for Howard, winning is the league’s surest cure. And going to Houston guarantees at least a few wins. But until then, nothing rings louder than the Twitter words of Marc Stein:
Watching this car crash unfold must feel like another championship to LeBron James. We might not even talk about The Decision after this
— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) July 6, 2013
We can only hope.
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Richard Nurse is a Miami Heat columnist for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @blackirishpr.
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