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Dwight Howard does not owe you anything

2013 March 12
by Brian Serra
Magic Super Fan Jack "Sweater Vest" Nelson voices his displeasure with Dwight Howard.

Magic Super Fan Jack “Sweater Vest” Nelson voices his displeasure with Dwight Howard.

With the boos out-of-the-way, it’s time to move on. You booed him in the Amway Center, you booed him through your Twitter feed, you booed him through your TV. These are all deserved, in a sense, but it isn’t because of a debt unpaid. Dwight Howard isn’t “yours” anymore, nor was he “yours” to begin with.

He doesn’t owe you anything.

Dwight gave six and a half fantastic years in Orlando, one and a half tumultuous years and then left in the worst way he possibly could have. And I repeat, he left and is gone. You can boo him and I’d expect you to be plenty angry about how it ended, but you have to know that it is a reaction to your personal pain and pride, not a broken promise.

Dwight Howard was the center piece of a winning era that involved 371 regular season wins and six straight playoff appearances, including an overachieving NBA Finals team. He was the center piece of the winning era that helped push the development of the brand new Amway Center (plus that whole over-development bubble) that moved fans out of the decrepit Arena down the road. He brought with him a global marketing campaign by adidas that featured him wearing an ORLANDO Magic jersey. The exposure he brought the city and franchise in terms of branding is immeasurable.

In the end, he decided it was time to further his own brand. A grown up decision that some of you would have likely repeated, given the chance. A grown-up decision made by a young-adult, and executed like a child. Even then, it was his right to decide for himself as both a person and a basketball player. Also, don’t forget: the same infuriating immaturity that ruined those seasons for the Magic is also part of what made Dwight pick up his final year option. Without that, it would have been Otis Smith in charge of trading an expiring Dwight (which, we now know, would have been to LA Lakers for Andrew Bynum). For that, we probably owe him a “thank you” card.

What is left is…well, everything. A franchise that the city loves, a team that fans enjoy, an arena that is the envy of most teams. You owe it to yourselves, as fans, to move behind the rebuilding project. To hopefully groom the youth and talent of Maurice Harkless, Nik Vucevic and Tobias Harris. To welcome the hope that will come this Summer in the way of a top-3 draft pick, and the knowledge that we have a front office that is finally outsmarting others (instead of just outspending others).

There are so many more positive ways to spend your time and energy on than hating Dwight Howard. Remembering the pain and anguish caused by Dwight doesn’t mean focusing on it. Let the wound heal, let the scar fade, and move right along in enjoying this team. You don’t owe him anything beyond the belief, fanaticism and love you’ve already delivered.

But never forget: his debt has been paid. He doesn’t owe anyone, anything. I don’t think you should take anything he gives, anyway.

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8 Responses Post a comment
  1. March 13, 2013

    Absolutely spot on. I don’t mind the Magic fans booing Dwight, but at the same time, I hope they can begin to see the absurdity of demanding our players to be loyal in a sport with an entry draft, free agency, and front offices looking to flip players around like they’re shrimp on a grill. Dwight had no obligation to stick around with the Magic (or any team) for life, any more than the Magic themselves had an obligation to keep him around that long.

  2. Jamie_U permalink
    March 13, 2013

    As is true with most shills, you have completely misread the substance of the boos. No one is saying Howard ‘owes’ them anything, they merely turned out show the world what people who had the opportunity to watch Howard more than most know; he’s a fraud as a Top 5 NBA player. He wants to be a global brand but forgot that it takes an MJ-LeBron-Durant-Magic-Bird-Shaq ect like skill set to get there. Instead he thinks acting more and more like a clown will translate to him being more ‘lovable’ and sell more merchandise/ad space.

    Either way, with brighter lights on him of a bigger market more are seeing what he really is as a player: genetically gifted, but lacking in actual basketball skills and fundamentals. He’ll be a maximum paid player but can never be the guy that rises a team to championship level. What you should be actually telling Magic fans is to cheer up, they finally are removed from the ransom of feeling like they have to pay Howard and keep him when he’s actually detrimental to their ultimate goal(s).

    • March 15, 2013

      It’s funny to me that I present logic and you respond with calling me a “shill”.

      • Jamie_U permalink
        March 15, 2013

        What’s logic based in your argument? Your saying the he ‘doesn’t owe Orlando fans anything’, I’m saying the boos weren’t about fans wanting something they felt they were ‘owed’ (so if anything your argument is ‘fantasy hypothetical’ based, not ‘logic’). You’re then a shill because, if you look up the definition of that term, you’re it to a tee: you’re creating a nonsense argument point to argue for the person in the position of power, a multi-millionaire and change the actual ‘discussion’ that was going on between fan and player and what both sides should expect from the other.

    • Muko permalink
      March 5, 2014

      Lol. Stop. Magic fans who still resent Dwight are like those jilted exes who “accidentally” run into at a busy downtown intersection, then immediately start calling you all kinds of names and hurling F-bombs every two seconds in plain view of everybody.

      Let it go.

      Just let it go.

  3. Kenny permalink
    March 13, 2013

    With all due respect, you’re wrong. Dwight Howard owes (or did owe) Orlando:

    1. A legitimate apology for the way he turned our winning team into the league’s worst record.

    2. The decency of being up-front with ORL to provide them greater flexibility. In hindsight, Vucevic/Harkless worked out very well but ORL got lucky. If he had been more up-front about his trade demands then ORL would’ve been less rushed to trade him and would’ve had more options (and thus potentially an even better deal).

    3. To stop acting like he still has a “connection” to ORL in the national media. We hate you, you hate us, just man up and admit it that you screwed up and turned a great relationship into irreparable hatred. Dwight is an immature child who can’t deal with the fact that scrutiny and negativity accompany fame. His demeanor to the press acts as though what he did was okay and encourages younger players to do the same. It’s unacceptable and until Dwight takes responsibility then he deserves everything that’s coming his way.

    • Muko permalink
      March 5, 2014

      Lol. Typical “jilted lover” comment from a fan who refuses to let go. Folks like you go on and on about how Dwight was being childish and petty before leaving Orlando, but wouldn’t holding a grudge against him after all this time also qualify as being childish and petty as well?

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