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“Remind Dwight Howard That Fans Love Him Practice” Draws Packed House – Not So Crazy Fans

2011 December 17
by Brian Serra

Fans were lined up around both sides of the building prior to the 10am door opening. Stay Dwight, Fight for Dwight and home made signs all in hand as they filled the entire lower bowl of the  Amway Center.

There was an announced crowd last night of 7,927 in Detroit for the first Pistons preseason game. Reality was that it was probably closer to 2,000 actually in attendance. The estimated attendance for the today’s open scrimmage is that around 8-9 thousands fans were in attendance. FOR A PRACTICE! Well, for a “Remind Dwight Howard That Fans Love Him Practice”.

The team scrimmaged for two full quarters with the team split between the Black team and the White team. The Black team consisted of most of the usual starters including Dwight Howard, Jameer Nelson and Jason Richardson. The Black team won easily, but that was far from the story on the day.

In case you have been paying more attention to Newt Gingrich the last few weeks than basketball, Dwight Howard requested a trade out of Orlando.  Today was the first chance that fans had to show Dwight in mass how much they mean to him.

Honestly, I was disappointed in what I saw from fans today. They cheered loudly for him and when he came to the mic, muttered “what’s up y’all”, they went wild. They did very little more than they would have at any important Magic game. This was NOT an important Magic game. It was a practice. It just so happens that it was the most important practice in the history of the Magic franchise.

There wasn’t one sustained “Stay Dwight” chant or anything that resembled it.  As they often do, a small handful of fans tried to start an M-V-P chant when Dwight was at the free throw line. As they often do, the chants died quickly.  When the fans should have treated today like the largest pep rally of their lives, they failed to rise to the extraordinary occasion.

Maybe they just didn’t know what to expect. Maybe they were gun shy. Maybe they were acting like the scarred girl who is afraid to let a love back into their lives. Maybe I am overreacting because I personally expected more.

Dwight stayed after the practice for at least 15 minutes signing autographs and hearing fan after fan tell him they love him. He didn’t say much, but those words can’t fall on deaf ears. You can see and read all the tweets you want, but those words change when it’s coming from an 11 year old girl saying how important you are to her and the city.

Individual fans DID care. Fans DID show up in mass. There were NOT any boos. Maybe my expectations really are set too high. The problem with all of that is simple: Dwight Howard’s expectations are even higher than mine.  We’ve seen it over and over again.

So the ultimate question that comes out of today, and it’s not one that will be easily answered, is… What did DWIGHT think  -deep down- of the fan display?

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