Dwight Howard has continued to wrong fans and throw management under the bus. Any attempt now to reach out to Orlando Magic fans would be thwarted by those who have become disenchanted with the superstar.
There was a point at which Dwight Howard belonged to the city.
There was a time when there was an active "Stay Dwight" website and campaign to keep the 26-year-old three-time Defensive Player of the Year in town.
That died out as he wavered and continually toyed with the team. Not only did he request that Stan Van Gundy leave, but that the team take an entirely different direction with a new general manager as well.
This has resulted in an equally discontent Howard playing in a new system.
Hopefully, new Magic coach Jacque Vaughn is reasonable enough to not base the offense around Howard. After all, at this point, he is a rental. Nevertheless, he has to be played, whether fans want to see him on the court or not.
That's the real tragedy of this. Superstars just don't stick with their teams anymore, and now that Howard has said he doesn't want to, the fans don't want him.
Popular Magic message boards like the one at Real GM have exploded into tirades of disgust and hate. The moderators of the forum only censor the language, not the content; fans are horribly ticked off.
Maybe that's the way it should be. No one breaks up with a lover and remains friends; that is a myth. On the same level, fans don't embrace superstars after said superstars spurn their home team. Shaq was never viewed the same way in Orlando after leaving, and Howard will fall into the same boat.
Will fans still reminisce?
Of course they will.
Howard took a talented Magic squad to the finals in 2009. That was only the team's second appearance in the finals in 20 years of Magic history at the time.
Three seasons later, and the count is still at two. What Howard, Hedo Turkoglu, Rashard Lewis and Jameer Nelson did together will not be soon forgotten. Fans keep a memory.
We even remember the few seasons that T-Mac was the Kevin Durant of the early 2000s. He put up insane scoring games with such ease, and seeing him in a Magic uniform made it even better.
T-Mac—like Shaq, and now Howard—spurned the Magic in the end, but we remember him anyway. We remember Penny, too. And Horace.
Certain players simply remain fixtures in fan memories, and Howard will undoubtedly be one of those.
That is now Dwight Howard's legend.
He will never be remembered the same as if he had spent his entire career in Orlando, but few Magic players have.
Scott Skiles and Nick Anderson remained in Magic uniforms until close to the end. Skiles was traded to the Washington Bullets and Anderson was dealt to Sacramento, where he only played a handful of games.
Few others have.
It's a special thing. It's the kind of thing that causes jerseys to be retired. Howard's never will be.
Fans don't want reminders of this and they've grown sick of it.
It was fun while it lasted.