The most shocking part of the full page ad published in the Orlando Sentinel by Dwight Howard was not the content in the message, but his audacity to even write a statement in the first place. After all, this is a player who single-handedly ended an era in Orlando Magic basketball.
On first glance, the average Magic fan would be enraged just for the fact that Dwight Howard, our former franchise cornerstone, wrote it, but, on further inspection, the topic of the note would make said fan downright furious.
Not only does he paint a picture of past serenity, which obviously was not the case, but the perennial All-Star also contradicts himself numerous times. Here is the content of the message:
"To play the game of basketball in the NBA is a blessing and to have had the opportunity to play before the Orlando fans for eight years was truly a privilege and an honor.
Words cannot express the love that I have for Orlando. With your support we have done great things in this city from hanging banners to impacting our youth.
Although my career with the Magic has come to a close, my love for the city and the people that make it beautiful will never end."
Kind of sappy, don't you think?
This ad was, of course, published a few weeks ago, but my anger regarding the note has festered inside me, driving me to write this article.
The first sentence insists that he enjoyed playing in Orlando, which is definitely not the case. If he enjoyed playing so much for the Magic fans, why did he decide to leave?
Was it the bad traffic in the city? No suitable pizza parlors? The unpredictable weather?
No, it was the fact that the Orlando didn't possess the large market, national attention and supporting cast that other cities could provide, like Brooklyn, Dallas and Los Angeles. In the end, he agreed to go to the bright lights of Los Angeles to free himself from the grips Orlando possessed on him that he thought were stopping him from flourishing into a basketball icon.
Howard has a multitude of opportunities to right his ways and stay with the organization that drafted him with the first overall pick in 2004, but to no avail. So before he sent this page to the Orlando Sentinel, maybe he should have reconsidered this portion of the message.
The rest isn't much better, though.
The next section still talks about his "love" for Orlando, but he also delves into some history. He refers to the banners that the Magic have risen during his tenure with the Magic, but Orlando was never in it for the district titles; the city wanted their first championship.
The one exception, however, is the Eastern Conference Championship that was achieved in 2009. This truly was one of the high points of Orlando Magic basketball.
But, back to the bashing.
The next part gets a bit dicey, as we talk about his reference to his impact on youths. Well, we can't deny the fact that he has been a solid influence in the Orlando community, but we must not forget that he just recently cancelled an appearance at his own summer camp. Yikes.
The last portion goes back to praising the city, but few Orlandoians are going to buy this message. In the end, Howard is competing in his prime in the beautiful city of Los Angeles, while the Magic have to suffer with a mediocre team, at best.
So Mr. Dwight Howard, thanks, but no thanks.