Dwight Howard confuses me. Through the beginning of his career, he’s been known for his carefree attitude. For better or worse, the image of Howard laughing on the sideline or donning a cape while dunking will indelibly define his character. I guess it’s a charismatic manifestation of his personality. Maybe it’s part of the tedious grind of a basketball season. LeBron James would occupy his long, Cleveland days with team dances and wide grins. I doubt Mo Williams remembers the choreography anymore. My point is, this behavior was a relief when the Magic were an elite team, but during their recent period of turmoil, it says a lot about them. When the Magic were getting beaten by the 76ers the other night by about 20 points, the camera showed Dwight cackling on the bench as usual. It summed up the entire season.
Rather than stick with goofy, childish behavior, Dwight got angry. He lashed out at his teammates after a beating from the lowly New Orleans Hornets, proclaiming that if they don’t want to play they should go to the locker room. Normally, this would be a nice motivational tactic from Howard, but it came at the wrong time. Nearly everybody recognizes that Dwight Howard will not be playing with the Orlando Magic next season, it’s a certainty. His teammates aren’t immune to reading ESPN. At this point, Howard has no ground to stand on. However hard he plays in his limited time with the Magic, the elephant in the room is that he has other destinations on his mind. After ripping his teammates, Howard added Chicago to the list of potential landing spots for himself. Hypocrisy at its finest. As a teammate of a player that doesn’t believe your organization is ready to be elite, would you be happy if he then criticized your play directly? Isn’t his departure enough criticism? Dwight Howard is a great player and a great guy. He’s funny and does wonderful work in his community. But even superman has his flaws, and Dwight is handling his situation with a lack of tact that will leave a bad taste with his teammates. But hey, at least if he wants to dance and laugh, he’s got Big Baby on the team now.