Watch Orlando Magic Fans Tell Dwight Howard How They Really Feel

Josh MartinNBA Lead WriterMarch 12, 2013

Dwight Howard was greeted by a hearty chorus of boos when the Los Angeles Lakers were introduced before their game against the Orlando Magic Tuesday.

To the surprise of absolutely nobody, of course. Howard's mishandling of his eventual exit from Central Florida, in a series of episodes that've come to be known collectively as the "Dwightmare," rendered Orlando's former franchise superstar a figure of public resentment even before his flight to L.A. officially came to fruition.

For his part, Howard seemed to take the hate in stride—smiling and dancing his way into the huddle—which is more than you could say about the way he's handled most of the controversy and vitriol that's come his way so far during the 2012-13 NBA season. Dwight has stumbled into media-related potholes with frightening regularity as a Laker. Most recently, Howard, intentionally or otherwise, invited ridicule by essentially equating his former teammates to nobodies during a sit-down interview with a local CBS affiliate.

Interestingly enough, Dwight's contingent of boo birds in Orlando were subsequently drowned out by rabid cheers for Kobe Bryant, as if they'd forgotten the role the Black Mamba played in submarining the Magic's shot at the NBA title back in 2009.

Perhaps, in time, Dwight can come to be both loved and hated in a more balanced manner as well. To get to that point, though, he'll likely have to earn himself a championship or two.

Which appears an unlikely goal for 2013, given that the Lakers are stuck battling for the eighth seed in the crowded Western Conference. In the meantime, Dwight would do well to measure his words and avoid inflaming passions wherever and whenever possible.

Come to think of it, that might be just as difficult a task for Howard, if not more so.