Orlando Magic: Dwight Howard's Actions Show Why He Will Never Be a Leader

Matt ShetlerCorrespondent IMarch 30, 2012

ORLANDO, FL - MARCH 13:  Dwight Howard #12 of the Orlando Magic is guarded by Chris Bosh #1 of the Miami Heat during the game at Amway Center on March 13, 2012 in Orlando, Florida.  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 Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

Throughout his on-again-off-again four-month trade-demand saga, Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard made one thing clear: He wanted to be the leader of a franchise. He wanted to be "the guy."

Well, Howard is that in Orlando, but he's never going to be that in any other city.

His actions this season have told you everything you need to know about Howard's character and his ability to be a leader. Quite frankly, he isn't one, and if you didn't believe me before, his latest actions in an Orlando blowout loss to the New York Knicks told the entire story.

In the fourth quarter, with Howard on the bench, the All-Star center showed not only how classy he is, but how selfish he is as well by not getting up from his seat to join the team huddle during a timeout. For everything Howard put his Orlando teammates through this season. All of the questions. All of the distractions all season. The least you would think that Howard would show some support for his teammates now.

Not a chance—quite the opposite actually. Howard stayed seated and enjoyed some laughs with point guard Jameer Nelson instead of joining the rest of his teammates.

When did it become acceptable to laugh and joke around when your team is losing by more than 20 points?

Howard's actions quickly drew the ire of ESPN analyst Jeff Van Gundy, who had the following to say during ESPN's telecast about the Magic center.

“I was watching the Magic at that timeout where Dwight Howard and [Jameer] Nelson didn’t join the huddle. Last night [Andrew] Bynum doesn’t join the huddle. When did this become acceptable that you just aren’t a part of it when it’s not going well and you separate yourself, like, ‘this is not my problem,’ or like you don’t support your teammates?” Van Gundy asked on air.

“The least you can do is just get up,” he continued. “I don’t understand. I read that (Lakers coach) Mike Brown said he didn’t have a rule that Bynum has to get up. Should you need a rule?”

Van Gundy hit the nail on the head. Sometimes players think they are bigger than the team and that sums up Howard's season.

Instead, Howard chooses to act like a child more often than not. And while he wants to be the alpha Mmale, the reality is, though a great player, Howard will never be a leader. He's nothing more than a follower. 

All Howard has done is confirm the me-first type of attitude that most people felt he already had.

How are his teammates supposed to follow his lead after his behavior this season? A true leader supports his teammates. Instead, Howard jumps off the boat before it sinks.

Does he think that other teams around the league don't pay attention to this as well?

What it does is hurts his chances of going to another team and being "the man." That's something he's simply not. The only way another team can afford to bring this guy aboard is if they already have a superstar and legitimate leadership already in place. Otherwise, they will be severely disappointed.

Before Howard can claim he wants to be a leader, he first needs to figure out how to do that. Finally growing up will go a long ways to accomplishing that.

However, if you were a general manager, would you give up assets for this guy who's basically accomplished next to nothing, except putting up good numbers, throughout his career?

Every time the drama dies down, Howard opens up more eyes to the fact that he will never be a true go-to guy in the NBA. One day he may win a championship—but it will be because he's following someone else's lead. There's no way Howard will ever become the type of leader to accomplish it otherwise.

Actions speak louder than words, and Howard's actions scream that he doesn't have it in him.