GROVE CITY, Pa., April 17, 2012 — Dwight Howard is a rare combination of power, timing and springiness. This enables him to dominate the paint like no one has since Shaquille O’Neal was getting whacked by three 6’10” minions just to keep him away from the rim in the early 2000s.
Unfortunately, Howard is also the rare combination of being chronically self-absorbed yet lacking any sort of self-awareness. The ongoing saga between he and Orlando Magic coach Stan Van Gundy – in which Van Gundy has claimed that Howard tried to get him fired, followed by Howard’s fervent denial in the most awkward interview of our generation – has reached an all-time low.
WKMG reported Thursday morning that Howard allegedly called Magic owner Rich DeVos to tell him that we will no longer play for Van Gundy.
Of course, this all stems from Howard’s long, slow, painful, pitiful (in)decision to waive the opt-out clause of his contract with the Magic several weeks ago, thus meaning he would remain under contract at least one more year. Citing “honesty” and “loyalty,” Howard woefully attempted to promote his “good-guy” image in the following press conference, acting like he had done the city of Orlando and the Magic franchise one helluva good deed.
The rest of us, meanwhile, shook our heads.
For the duration of his seven year career, Howard has been the oft subject of interviews, commercials, feature stories and Sports Center pieces. His agenda throughout all of these has been clear: “Look, guys, I’m a goofy, carefree dude.” He wants you to like him, because unlike other ho-hum players, he has that endearing sort of immaturity that has him dunking in a Superman cape on All-Star Weekend. He cares what you think.
Yet his recent actions with his contract and with Van Gundy reveal the true Dwight Howard.
I’m not saying he’s a villain, because I think he means well. Sadly, however, Howard is another case of a player too immature and too self-absorbed to see the truth—that we’re not falling for his misguided attempts to promote his character.
The more he wavers and denies, the more we grimace. At least LeBron made it clear.
Granted, the self-absorbed superstar is nothing new. Hell, Carmelo Anthony has a painting of himself hanging above his fireplace. But we liked Howard; for a time, he was endearing.
Now it seems we no longer like Howard. His self-awareness is comically woeful. He has time to redeem himself, of course, but for now, he’s just a sad tale.
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