Dwight Howard is committing fouls off the court as the trade deadline approaches.
Dwight Howard is certainly all those things. Not with regards to basketball. No, he's been playing basketball at an extremely high level for nearly eight full seasons.
In terms of life and handling the media and himself, well that's a different story. Howard, in spite of his lengthy career, is still only 26 years old. That's young.
As for "experience," well, Dwight Howard has never had to endure a lot of tough media scrutiny. He's never changed teams, he's never been at the center of trade talks and rumors and he's never been a free agent before.
All of that is changing now. It's been changing for months and Howard is receiving a crash course in some of the less desirable parts of what is for most people a life they can only dream of. That's the life of an NBA superstar.
Howard may or may not be leaving Orlando. Maybe he's going to be dealt in the next 24 hours. Maybe last night's win against in-state rival Miami was his final appearance in a Magic uniform. Then again, maybe Howard stays. Maybe he stays through what is left of this season, then into next season or even beyond.
No one knows right now. That "no one" includes Dwight Howard, and perhaps therein lies the problem. Howard, in spite of all of his talent and all of his accumulated wealth, in spite of taking on the image of "Superman," can't control everything.
It may be that his own realization that he doesn't have complete control over his situation has compelled him to make statements that ultimately only do himself a tremendous disservice.
Last night following the Magic's win over the Heat, Howard decided to make public not just what he wants but how what he wants should somehow supersede the long-term best interests of his current team.
"I told them I want to finish this season out and give our team, give our fans some hope for the future. But I feel they have to roll the dice. It might be tough, but I feel we've got a great opportunity. But they've got to roll it." - ESPN.com 3/14/12
Memo to Dwight Howard: Multi-million-dollar companies generally don't like to "roll the dice." Businesses ideally like to operate under the same philosophy that casinos operate under. That's the one that states, "The house always wins."
Not "wins" in terms of wins and losses on the court but "wins" in terms of profit and the ability to compete over the long run. There are lots of fans that understand that concept. That's why a quote like the one given by Howard last night coupled with the rumors that Howard would only remain in Orlando long term if given control over his current coach's and general manager's job status don't paint a pretty picture of Howard.
Regardless of if he stays short term or long term or if he is gone by tomorrow afternoon, Dwight Howard needs to start to understand that his constant chatter surrounding his circumstance is ultimately hurting only Dwight Howard.
It's making a man once thought of in near unanimous approval seem flippant or, even worse, arrogant. It's a mark of inexperience in his current situation and it's also the definition of "punk."