And then he did the one thing nobody has ever done to the Lakers: He said "thanks, but no thanks" when L.A. begged him to stick around.
Since walking away from the disappointing mess that was the Lakers' 2012-13 season, Howard has kept relatively quiet about his time in Hollywood. But with his former team coming to visit the Houston Rockets Nov. 7, D12 is going to find himself right back in the crosshairs of his mortal enemies: Lakers fans.
Fair or not, there's no way Purple and Gold loyalists will ever forgive Howard. They view him as the symbol for everything that went wrong last season. He's a combination of a scapegoat and a whipping boy; he's a "whipping goat."
So, since he'll never be able to repair his image in the eyes of Lakers fans, Howard needs to embrace his status as a villain.
It's time for D12 to turn up his troll game. Here are a few (mostly serious) suggestions for how he can do that.