Howard went back and forth in his final two years in a Magic uniform, never stating his true intentions. He made Magic fans believe he was going to leave, and then he led them to believe he was going to stay. Ultimately, the disgruntled superstar ended up putting Orlando in such a terrible situation that they were forced to deal him as part of a four-team trade that landed him with the Los Angeles Lakers.
Being that Howard’s exit from Orlando wasn’t the most mature or most ideal, considering his eight-year tenure with the franchise, I thought I’d write a letter on Superman’s behalf. This letter will be what Howard should have said to the Orlando fan base after eight long years, which included a run to the NBA Finals, three Southeast Division titles, four top four finishes in the East and a slew of other accomplishments.
I’m an Orlando resident, and saw just how devastated the community was by his departure. I think Howard could have taken a classier approach to his long-expected exit from Orlando, and he owed it to those Magic fans who cherished and loved him so much over the years. It wasn’t just his poor actions, but the fact that he didn’t provide much closure through his words either.
What Howard should have said to the Orlando fan base
Dear Loyal Orlando Magic Fans,
I’m sorry we couldn’t accomplish the ultimate goal I set out for this city when I became the face of the franchise. I’m sorry things didn’t end the way we all envisioned. I’m sorry that I won’t be finishing my career in Orlando. I’m sorry we didn’t end on good terms.
But, instead of remembering all the failures, try to focus on all the successes we had in an incredible eight-year run together. I helped lead the Magic to its first NBA Finals since 1995. I helped bring Orlando basketball back to relevance. Most importantly, I brought excitement and wonder back to the City Beautiful.
There were ups, and there were downs. But, from 2007 to 2011, we experienced a pretty magical ride. Remember 2009? Remember being down 3-2 to the Celtics, but we were able to fight our way back to make it to the Eastern Conference finals? We took down the Cavaliers and made it all the way to the Finals.
Although we didn’t win the franchise’s first ring, we competed and had championship potential.
I realize now that I didn’t leave Orlando in the best way. I led you on when I opted into my contract last season, but it was only because I didn’t want to disappoint you fans that loved and adored me so much over the years.
You guys watched me mature and develop into one of the best players in the NBA. I became the player I am today because Orlando took a chance on me as high school kid back in 2004. I am forever thankful for that. My career blossomed in Orlando, and everything I’ve accomplished individually or team has been in a Magic uniform.
Unfortunately, the fact is that I’m entering the second half of my career, and I want to win rings. I realize that I can’t please everyone, and I have to do what I feel is best for myself and my career. You may view my move as selfish or weak, but a basketball career comes and goes quickly. I need to accomplish my goals, and I feel the best way for me to do that is no longer with the Orlando Magic.
Will Magic fans ever forgive Dwight?
I hope that one day when I return to the Amway Center as an opponent that you will cheer me. I hope you will remember all the good that I brought to this franchise, and eventually forgive me. I didn’t leave in the best way, but there is nothing I can do to change that now.
I wish the city of Orlando and the Magic franchise the best of luck in the future.
Dwight Howard will likely be booed in Orlando next season just as LeBron was booed in Cleveland. Magic fans hold a lot of resentment towards the six-time All-Star, and that probably won’t go away anytime soon.
Fortunately for Orlando and its fan base, the saga is finally over. They no longer have to worry about what Howard is doing and can just focus on the future. Regardless of how Howard is viewed in Orlando, it doesn’t change the fact that he’s the Magic’s all-time leading scorer and rebounder, and the best player in team history.
The Magic can finally move on and hope they one day get another player of Howard’s caliber.