Posted October 16, 2013

Dwight Howard upset that Magic gave his No. 12 jersey to another player

Dwight Howard, Houston Rockets, Orlando Magic, Rob Mahoney
Dwight Howard

Dwight Howard wore No. 12 with the Magic from 2004-12. (David Dow/NBAE via Getty Images)

Dwight Howard had done a fine job of presenting to the media in recent weeks, at times conveying a maturity and perspective that had seemed to elude him over the past two seasons. Of course, he then proceeded — as he has done so many times before — to forcibly insert his foot into his mouth.

In a reflective interview with Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel, Howard couldn’t help but opine on a triviality — the fact that current Magic forward Tobias Harris dons his former number:

Howard said he was disappointed that, last February, after the Magic acquired Tobias Harris in a trade, the team granted Harris’ request to wear No. 12, Howard’s old number.

“I just think that despite whatever happened, there was a lot of things that I did and that we did as a team, and that number was special down there,” Howard said. “And I was a little bit upset about that.”

Frankly, this reaction isn’t all that big a deal. As unseemly as Howard’s exit from Orlando was, he was still one of the best players in franchise history and took the 2008-09 Magic to the NBA Finals. I can fully appreciate that he would want his jersey to hang from the Amway Center rafters one day, and that it might seem odd to him to see another Orlando player wear the same number so soon.

Still, Howard’s objection serves little purpose and does little good, particularly given his penchant for pettiness. Talented though he may be, this is a player who for months attempted to push his way out of Orlando, sealed his coach’s firing with a smile and completely sold out his Magic teammates upon his departure. Forgive Orlando team officials if they aren’t rushing to promote the accomplishments of a player who so openly deserted their team while attempting to deflect all blame.

MAHONEY: Best- and worst-case scenarios for Rockets, other West teams

Mentioning something like this publicly isn’t likely to inspire any movement on the matter or curry any favor. And as much as I’d like for Howard to be able to riff honestly on something that bothers him, a man in his position needs to pick his battles. This is a topic worth revisiting in due time, but it’s not as if active players often see their previous numbers retired. There are certain unwritten rules and matters of courtesy in play, sure. Yet neither seems all that relevant in the case of Harris, who — as is noted in Robbins’ piece — chose to wear No. 12 as a tribute to a friend who died of leukemia. Howard shouldn’t be held accountable for knowing that bit of information, but it serves to underscore just how silly this episode really is.

Only time will tell if Howard will eventually get the public respect he so craves from the Magic — I’d merely implore him to leave that conversation for a later date. Wait for tempers to cool, and for Orlando to find its way back. This kind of case becomes much simpler then, absent the justified anger of the fans of an organization left behind.

Unfortunately, that’s probably asking too much. Howard has never been one for restraint on media matters, making it only a matter of time until he’s drawn into another grating sound bite or off-putting pull quote. His inability to step outside himself — to guess how something he says or does might be interpreted by others — remains striking. In Robbins’ piece alone, Howard also bumbled his way through a comparison — likely intended to be complimentary — between the current Rockets and the 2009 Magic:

[Howard] thinks Houston has similar talent to the 2008-09 Magic squad he led to the NBA Finals.

On Tuesday, Howard compared Rockets small forward Chandler Parsons to Hedo Turkoglu and Rockets shooting guard James Harden to Courtney Lee but also added that Harden has more scoring ability. He compared Rockets point guard Patrick Beverley to Rafer Alston and Rockets point guard Jeremy Lin to Anthony Johnson.

Oof. Every single one of those comparisons is just baffling; Parsons and Turkoglu are entirely different players filling entirely different roles at entirely different levels of commitment; Harden and Lee share only the most arbitrary similarities; Beverley is already a better defender and more discerning shooter than Alston ever was; and I cannot call to mind a contemporary point guard more unlike Lin than Johnson.

Some of the analogues are downright insulting to Howard’s current teammates, with the underlying implication being that both teams revolve around him. The players surrounding Howard — be they Harden or Lee, Parsons or Turkoglu, Lin or Johnson — are merely the backdrop. It wouldn’t be difficult for Howard say that these Rockets are an entirely different team from the ’09 Magic, largely because they are. But Howard connected A to B without much thought, just as he expressed his displeasure with Harris’ wearing No. 12 absent consideration.

If Howard wants to say these things and own them, that’s his right. But one can’t well be hyper-sensitive to media reaction and this careless at the same time.

46 comments
DeshawnAdams
DeshawnAdams

Hibbert >Howard any day now that's a true center and serious big man about his business.

Not4nutten
Not4nutten

The Team is giving him the same loyalty he gave them, The Fans of Orlando have already moved on, he deserves what he delivered to them, NOTHING!

DaveMurillo
DaveMurillo

Good call Kobe, "I'll play another 3, 4 years", got this yahoo out of town!

EliezerOmarConde
EliezerOmarConde

I say we as magic Fans should all wear number 12 when he comes to town but with Harris's  last name on the back. In Support of an Excellent player who wants to be in town and in reject of Howard's comments. 

Ari1966
Ari1966

DH, invest in a PR person whose sole responsibility is to listen to your thoughts before they are released to the unfortunate public.  If you do this, my guess is we will not hear from you ever again (I'm all for that).  Shaq, Penny H, T-Mac, wiil have their jerseys before yours, if ever.  Oh, there is one more as well, the mascot Stuff.  Houston, you have a problem!

underscore1901
underscore1901

Losing an NBA Finals, chasing a good coach out of town -- and lying about it, holding a supportive city hostage, then publicly selling out your former teammates... these things DO NOT get your jersey retired, even in today's NBA.

Howard may have all the talent in the world, but he's completely bereft of character.  Gonna be hard to win a championship with someone that mercenary in the mix.

PrinceNguyen
PrinceNguyen

One, think you are smoking hot, the ship will sail without you!  Two, you did nothing to have your jersey retired in the rafters!

Steven17
Steven17

I've said it before and will say it again:  Howard is never going to win a championship with any team.  He walks a path designed solely to assuage his ego and nothing more.  Where he learned that I do not know, but he certainly has been misled.  He is not a leader, and will not be as long as he continues to propagate this charade.  I see no indication he will drop that charade, and so this drama will continue.  But only because he and the media thinks it makes sense to do so.  If only one of the posts here were sufficient to connect with him, that he might see the error of his ways.  But that is not to be, and so it will continue....

AaronDunckel
AaronDunckel

Dwight, seriously man, you can't be this PR deaf.  Now is the time to lay low, just go to work and do your job, and not run your mouth. 

jdane
jdane

Yo, Dwight.  SHouldn't you be more focussed on posing for that statue in LA?

duckfan59
duckfan59

Duh-wight: You self-absorbed drama queen. You didn't do anything special in Orlando to justify retiring your jersey. You're 7-feet tall but have a pint-sized heart and a massive ego. Get over yourself.

doublejtrain68
doublejtrain68

Oh cry me a river, Dwight! You threw that team under the bus and went back and forth so many times about wanting to leave, wanting to stay, etc. You haven't merited having your number retired anywhere you've been. You're going to be miserable the rest of your career, since you're not even gonna sniff a title with Houston, either. Count your money, have another $1,000-a-night ho bang out another kid of yours and shut up. 

x72
x72

Howard is the Aaron Rodgers of the NBA, always crying.

eznohstar
eznohstar

Poor Dwight, he's such a superstar, why doesn't everyone realize it? Oh, it's because he isn't ...

Mikey A
Mikey A

What a petulant reject Howard is. What a media whoring immature d0uche bag. My lord, he needs to get over himself.

rock13np
rock13np

wow..... seriously its just a number. he decided to leave there. he brought all the drama. the other guy has the right to wear that number. he can't leave a place like he did to orlando and still expect them to cater to his nonsensical babyish ways! he doesn't play for them anymore. get over it. 

eddie767
eddie767

Every indication Howard gave to the Magic was he wanted out. So,he gave up all chances of 12 being retired for him. Then he started comparing past teammates,who went to finals with him,to guys he's never played with. He's too in love with himself,but the Rockets will regret his signing soon,real soon.

Papi Del Negro..... Dont ask
Papi Del Negro..... Dont ask

We Magic fans are upset too.. Upset that your immaturity and management's attempts to always cater to you set us back for years. There is a positive young nucleaus in place that will grow as a "team" that word you still need to learn to interpret. Go worry about your Houston fanbase because its only a matter of time before they turn on you once they realize the headache they now have as their franchise center.

RuKdingMe
RuKdingMe

The guy won nothing in Orlando and dumped all over the organization during and after his time there. Why would they ever retire his number?  No championships, the guy's not a Top50 alltime player and never will be, and if he ever reaches hall of fame caliber it will be due to some yet-unseen transformation that will have had nothing to do with Orlando.  Looking forward to hearing how it will all go wrong in Houston. This guy should go away.  

Joe R2
Joe R2

Why would he be upset?  That organization doesn't owe him anything.  He held that team hostage for 2 years with his waffling and complaining. 

bogeycat32
bogeycat32

Dwight Howard has done nothing in his career to have his jersey retired or not let the number be used again. He should worry more about basketball and not stuff like this. In 20 years he will be known as a player with a world of talent and the heart/brains of a baby..................

espnrefugee0218
espnrefugee0218

nothing was better last season than watching the lakers fail miserably.  

Look for more of the same this year until they fire the pringles guy 

2001mark
2001mark

Bwahahahaha!   Listen Dwight, if that is your real name, even Vince Carter thinks this is funny.

NoQNoSuperBowl
NoQNoSuperBowl

More proof that this guy lives on a different planet than the rest of us.

6marK6
6marK6

I have been supportive of Howard, thought his move from LA was smart. But, come on, you did not do a whole lot there to warrant them putting your jersey in the rafters.

sunalsorises
sunalsorises

Wow.  Just when you think this guy has reached the limits of stupidly running his mouth he goes ahead and tops himself.

JerryPeoples
JerryPeoples

he makes it so easy to not feel bad should his back flare up or perhaps break a shoulder from patting himself on the back

Jeff63
Jeff63

Why wouldn't he be shocked? He was so unfailingly loyal and forthright with the organization ...

muser
muser

Every team but one is thankful that Houston management is stupid. 

thebigdawg3
thebigdawg3

Does Howard want the Lakers to retire his number as well?  What a jack-a$$ moron of a person, a player and a teammate.  If there was ever a player who I wished blew all his money on drugs and ho's and ended up back in the hood selling crack it would be Dwight.

Bob35
Bob35

And Houston thinks Howard will be a leader for their team? Good luck with that, just ask the Lakers.

RobertJacke
RobertJacke

The Lakers will do the same thing give away your #......deal with it

David165
David165

@x72 Huh? How do you figure Aaron Rodgers as a crybaby?

BY
BY

@x72 How is Aaron Rodgers a whiner? I don't live in GB but I have never heard him whine when I have seen him interviewed.

L7
L7

@x72 And the A-Rod too, completely delusional.

DeshawnAdams
DeshawnAdams

@6marK6 Lakers were dumb for signing him is more like it. A major back surgery, never has respect the game and they wanted to build around this clown I'm glad he left. Lakers going through it but hey every team does at some point but at least they got rid of this clown. I was hoping he left and was relieved he did, not like he's doing any better in Houston. The team yea but he's playing no better than last year. Maybe some what  slightly but not very noticeable.


Thank you Dwight for not staying in LA LA Land.


MarkPost
MarkPost

@BY @x72 Just a Packer hater trying to figure out some way to complain on an unrelated article.