How Dwight Howards Comments Are Turning Superman into NBA Villain

Eric BallFeatured ColumnistFebruary 13, 2012

ATLANTA, GA - APRIL 28:  Dwight Howard #12 of the Orlando Magic sits on the bench during a timeout before the final seconds against the Atlanta Hawks during Game Six of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals in the 2011 NBA Playoffs at Philips Arena on April 28, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Dwight Howard is more of a WWE star than one in the NBA anymore.

He is successfully “turning heel” and turning into a bad guy after previously being one of the most lovable characters in the sport.

His ill-fated attempt to politely ask for a trade has completely backfired and it has engulfed the entire Orlando Magic season. It’s bad enough that he would create a wish list of sorts then add other teams to it as he travels to their city, but now he’s beginning to complain even when his team wins.

Despite only making 4-of-15 shots against the Milwaukee Bucks in a 99-94 win Saturday, Howard was angry that Jason Richardson (who was 9-of-11 from three-point land) was taking the crunch-time shots.

Howard told the media afterwards that he wants to be like another superstar in the league when the game is on the line (per FOX Sports):

I want to become a closer. The only way you get there is by getting the ball and have coach have the confidence in giving me the ball. That's how Kobe [Bryant] and the rest of the great fourth-quarter players got that way. It's trial and error. When Kobe first got in the league, it took him a while to become the killer he is in the fourth quarter now. That's because he went through that phase where he had to learn what shots to take and just get confidence in taking shots in the fourth quarter.

Kobe can create his own shot at will. He can pass if the double-team consumes him. Howard needs the table set for him. Even an egomaniac like Shaq knew as much when Kobe was his teammate.

NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 10:  Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers reacts in the fourth quarter against the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden on February 10, 2012 in New York City.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by
Chris Chambers/Getty Images

He is pouting to the media and it’s not a good look. Fans are fed up with coddled stars that try and dictate where they play. It has severely damaged Carmelo Anthony’s reputation around the league and it was looking to head in that direction with Chris Paul before he was traded.

All things considered, I understand Howard wants to be the only guy to touch the ball in the waning moments of a game. He is the most dominant center in the league and can be very difficult to stop…unless you foul him.

His 49 percent mark from the line is an incredibly large liability and a smart defense will hack him and play the numbers.

On top of his unwarranted complaints, he ends up throwing Stan Van Gundy, one of the longest tenured coaches in the league, under the bus: "I want to be that guy whose team wants him to close games out for them. Coach just needs to have confidence in me."

So unnecessary. Of course he has confidence in Howard to keep him on the floor for 38.5 minutes of game. But he doesn’t trust him from the free-throw line with the game on the line…nor should he.

Van Gundy and the rest of the Magic have handled the incredibly awkward situation as best they can, but at a certain point you have to figure they lay in bed at night cursing Howard.

His sense of entitlement and urgency to become a marketing icon has clouded his basketball judgment and it’s making him look like just another coddled and spoiled athlete that America has come to absolutely despise.  

All that’s missing is the evil intro music with all the fans booing him as he runs out on the court. 


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