Imagine what life would be like if Dwight Howard didn't constantly put his foot in his mouth.
Pretty boring, right?
There's been no shortage of animosity heading into Howard's first game against the Los Angeles Lakers as a member of the Houston Rockets on Thursday, and it's been fueled by the center himself. The latest has him expressing disbelief over the contest being coined a "reunion."
"It's not a reunion game," Howard told USA Today's Sam Amick. "What's the reunion?"
What's the reunion? Seriously?
Howard wasn't done, per Amick:
I think people are making a big deal out of the whole situation. Yeah, I left the Lakers. OK, I did what I had to do. This is my decision, and for me it's another game. Half the guys on the team weren't on the team last year anyway, so it's really not like a reunion.
Howard spent an entire season in Los Angeles, where he battled back and shoulder injuries. He butted heads with Kobe Bryant, one of the greatest shooting guards in NBA history, in Los Angeles. He and the rest of the Lakers contingent barely made the playoffs together. And it was he who got ejected from the team's final game of the year before spurning it in free agency.
Any of that ring a bell, Dwight? It was only one year, but it was an infinitely turbulent one. Surely you remember this. I know you do. Suggesting that you harbor no resentment or any feelings at all for a team that openly begged you to stay only pumps more fuel into an already blazing fire.
Contrary to what Howard would have us believe, this isn't just another game. It was never going to be after what transpired between last season and now. By asserting it means nothing, he has made it more meaningful.
Previously, Howard's foot met his mouth more than once. First, according to the Los Angeles Times' Ben Bolch, he took shots at the Lakers fanbase, saying the following:
Dwight Howard: "Fans are very passionate about their team and unfortunately the Lakers have the most fans in the world ... [cont.]— Ben Bolch (@latbbolch) November 4, 2013
Dwight Howard [cont.] so I think it’s kind of a tough thing to let go."— Ben Bolch (@latbbolch) November 4, 2013
Then, asked if he still talked to Kobe, Howard said "no" while making it a point to say he was in contact with other former teammates, per ESPN Los Angeles' Ramona Shelburne:
Dwight says he still talks to Jodie, Sacre, Jordan Hill. But no, he hasn't spoken to Kobe since the summer.— Ramona Shelburne (@ramonashelburne) November 5, 2013
All seemingly harmless comments, but ones that also shouldn't exist. If this game truly means nothing, then he should say nothing. Howard has stymied reporters before; there's no reason he can't now. Though he acts like he wishes to escape the past, he continuously indulges it.
"It's time for everybody to get over it," Howard told Amick of his time with the Lakers.
You first, Dwight.