Beyond the Bison: Moral Midgetry

 

Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Julian Dorey
Writer

Dwight Howard got what he wanted. It’s a sad indictment on sports in general when players like Howard methodically and manically use their star-status to get their way.

But that’s just what he did.

For one full year, Howard made the Orlando Magic a lame duck. With no other star power to speak of on the roster, the Magic’s championship hopes were not good. However, with a 26-year-old franchise big man like Howard, the Magic’s front office should have had the opportunity to bide their time and wait for the right time to grab the one or two players who could put them into contention.

Instead, the Magic sit at square one today.

They have a new coach, a new GM, a new president, and many new, young, and very unproven players who have been thrust into a situation almost certainly destined for failure.

You can safely attribute the blame for everything in that regrettable laundry list to Howard.

As a player, I don’t doubt Howard’s talent. He’s a freakishly athletic center who can jump higher than most swingmen and take over any game because of his size. As a person, he’s probably a decent man. Let’s be honest, the guy is always smiling when you see him on camera. He’s a proven jokester, and he seemed to be very close with many of his teammates until he started his shenanigans last summer.

At this point, none of that really matters. He might be a great player with some decent personality traits, but above all, Dwight Howard is a baby.

It’s true, Carmelo Anthony held Denver hostage and Deron Williams did the same to Utah–but their teams were able to trade them to a team that offered them the best deal. Their teams didn’t have all their secretive organizational dirty laundry aired in the tabloids every day for a year. As a result, their teams actually kept their executive personnel and at least kept some continuity.

Howard tried to commandeer the ship. When the Magic’s owner, Richard DeVos, tried to convince Howard to sign an extension and stay in Orlando early last season, Dwight tried to coerce the big man into giving him (a player) the power to replace the GM with a person of his liking, to pick out other players around the NBA that he wanted the team to trade for and to fire the head coach (one of his other bosses), Stan Van Gundy. Oh, and Dwight also said that if he did get traded–he would only sign an extension with one or two teams. In essence, Dwight basically asked DeVos if he could just play owner instead.

All of the ridiculous tidbits of this drama found their way to the media and wrecked relationships within the franchise past the point of repair.

Unfortunately, he is a microcosm of the culture the NBA and other professional sports are creating. The players don’t just “play” anymore. If anyone had any doubts, I think Howard just removed them.

Bon voyage, Dwight. Let us know just how nice L.A. is when you don’t win the big one.

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