Dwight Howard is at it again. The NBA’s biggest man-child’s most recent public complaints regard his first NBA team, the Orlando Magic, and their decision to allow Tobias Harris to wear No. 12. Howard, of course, wore the number during his eight seasons in Orlando, where he set franchise records for points, rebounds and blocks.
Howard said that he was “a little bit upset” by the decision, as he reminisced on better times in the Magic Kingdom. Howard may be right that the Magic accomplished some good things during his time there, and he is probably the best player in the franchise’s relatively brief history. That being said, he really has no basis for these complaints.
First of all, Howard only played there eight years, and he never won a championship. Generally, players who have their numbers retired spent the vast majority of their careers in one place, and they often won an NBA title. Many of these players are also Hall of Famers, which Howard probably will be, but he isn’t yet.
Of much more significance than that however, is how Howard left Orlando. He tried to get Stan Van Gundy fired, made and revoked trade demands multiple times, and eventually forced a trade to Los Angeles Lakers. Howard not only alienated the entire Orlando fan base, but he actually made himself one of the least popular athletes in all of sports.
Now I can’t be exactly sure what the Magic are thinking, but that sure doesn’t sound like the kind of guy I want to honor by retiring his number. Actually, that sounds like the kind of guy that I don’t really want associated with my franchise at all.
Perhaps the most important factor here is that Harris wears the number to honor a childhood friend who died of leukemia, which is a touching tribute and a very worthy cause, even if the Magic actually wanted to protect Howard’s number. Maybe Howard didn’t know that when he complained, but even if he didn’t he still doesn’t have much of case.
Howard is a member of the Houston Rockets now, and the only thing he should be worried about is trying to win a championship with them. If Howard was so concerned about what the Orlando Magic are doing, maybe he should have stayed.