As of this spring, Howard has done tremendous work to be a top contender for another Forbes List: The NBA's Most Disliked Players.
Throughout the 2011-12 season—Howard's last guaranteed contract year with the Orlando Magic—Howard underperformed on the court while engendering rumors that he would be interested in playing with a litany of teams.
Sadly, this kind of behavior is almost considered standard by elite players on the move. Howard, however, added some much needed villainy to the act between April and July of this year.
First, Howard claimed that he would leave the Magic unless they fired coach Stan Van Gundy. Then, he threw a bone to the organization by opting to play for the squad for one more year.
Howard's new found loyalty didn't last all that long. Earlier this July, Howard announced that he wished to play for the Brooklyn Nets. For this to happen, the Magic would have to trade Howard.
So what did Howard allegedly do next? ESPN.com's sources revealed that Howard threatened to sue the Magic if they didn't void his "opt-in" clause. The suit would be on the grounds that the Magic "blackmailed" him into signing the clause.
So it would seem that if Howard landed on any other team, his reputation would precede itself.
However, according to a fresh batch of trade rumors (via ESPN), Howard may get his wish to play for the Brooklyn Nets under the team's billionaire owner Mikhail Prokhorov. Prokhorov will undoubtedly pay massive luxury taxes in 2013-14 to afford the center's $20 million a year contract.
New York will happily embrace the villainous Howard. To some justifiable extent, the city is considered a haven for black sheep, eccentrics, egocentrics, colorful villains and neo-liberals. Why not add another to the mix and promote him to the bazoo (while he helps New York win a championship ring)?
Of course, the rest of the country won't feel as passionately about "Superman" (Howard's nickname) as shall New York. By way of playing in the city that never sleeps, the national ire for Howard may be even more restless than it has been toward James.
It's hard to imagine that "Superman" would complain about New York City phone booths if the deal falls through. As a Brooklyn Net, his reputation would quiet to another big star who just had to shine on the big stage.
Then again, did anyone ever think Superman would have engaged in the same villainy as Howard has for the past several months? Be careful, Brooklyn, for what you wish for...
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