Friday, July 20, 2012

Hating Howard

     Dwight Howard has been one of my favorite players for a while now. After being drafted first overall immediately after high school in 2003, he was tasked with saving the Orlando Magic franchise, which had lost All-Star and face of the franchise Tracy McGrady. Howard rose to the occasion, becoming the first rookie player drafted from high school to play in all 82 regular season games, and averaged a promising 12 points and 10 rebounds per game. He led his team to the NBA finals in 2009, though the Magic ultimately lost to the Los Angeles Lakers in five games. Howard was depicted as a man on a mission, deadset on bringing a title to the team that took a chance on a kid from Georgia rather than draft the junior from UConn, Emeka Okafor, all the while making the world his personal playground through his sense of humor and Superman semantics. Unfortunately, it's all crashing down. The image of a fun-loving fan-favorite is all but a distant memory after nearly a year of trade demands and horrible morale, and I am fed up with Dwight Howard. Done. Forget it. He's a jerk, in fact, I'd go as far as putting him in the same category as LeBron James, if not worse. At least The Decision was quick. Howard's back and forth attitude in regards to the team for which he will play is appalling, and he doesn't seem to care. The center had the Magic front office in the palm of his hand. Dwight wants the talented but admittedly annoying coach Stan Van Gundy fired, done. Dwight wants general manager Otis Smith fired, done again. The only thing the Magic haven't done is get him a trade.

     The All-Star is undoubtedly a Hall of Famer by the numbers, and he is capable of putting a team on his back and taking them to the Finals, making him one of, if not the most valuable player available on the trading block in the last five years. He has stated his desire to play in a big market, as most NBA players do, but has limited his choices to only one team, the Brooklyn Nets. The Magic's new GM is more than happy to comply with Howard's demands, as would anyone in his situation, and has looked to trade with multiple teams. While the Lakers have been in talks for nearly a year, and the Nets have offered injury prone center Brooke Lopez and three first round picks, no deal has been reached at the time of this writing. I would honestly send him to basketball purgatory- a team stuck in rebuilding mode- like the horrible Charlotte Bobcats. There, he would be the only player worth watching, and all the attention would be him, and in the end, that's all he wanted and more. I would send him to California, not to the Lakers or Clippers, but Golden State, another team stuck in rebuilding mode and seemingly a million years away from contending.

     In conclusion, Dwight Howard used to be one of my favorite players, but only now has his selfish, greedy, and ultimately narcissistic personality come to light. His self-inflicted suffering is not only the worst depiction of an unhappy athlete in recent memory, but also an accurate description of what professional athletics is coming to. Holdouts, opt outs, and escalators are ruining the games we love. Gone are the days of playing out your contract and showing up for practice day in, day out, and not complaining. Howard and his peers play games for millions, yet they demand more payment for winning the genetic lottery. Gone are the days of sports being sports. Gone are the days I care about athletes claiming to be underpaid. Gone are the days I care.

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