On Tuesday, we did our best to guess how fans of the Orlando Magic, amidst the franchise's 25th anniversary, would react to a team-sponsored video tribute to Dwight Howard, whose Houston Rockets were in town Wednesday night.
Well, thanks to the Houston Chronicle’s Jonathan Feigen, we finally have our answer:
Boos for Howard in introductions. Really wonder about that video tribute idea. They are fond of local boy Chandler Parsons, here, however.— Jonathan Feigen (@Jonathan_Feigen) March 6, 2014
Speaking of Chandler Parsons—who, may we remind you, is a teammate of Howard’s—Houston’s versatile forward grew up a Magic fan and said he would have done the same thing.
Lifelong Magic fan Chandler Parsons said if he were still a kid in the stands, would boo Dwight Howard tonight, too. (He let T-Mac slide.)— Jonathan Feigen (@Jonathan_Feigen) March 5, 2014
With teammates like these, who needs enemies, right?
Here's some video of the reaction:
Sports fans aren’t known for their steadfast rationality, and in that sense Orlando’s reaction was completely understandable.
After all, Howard was principally responsible for putting the franchise through the months-long soap opera that resulted in his eventual trade to the Los Angeles Lakers in 2012.
Remember this gem?
In the end, it worked out for both parties: The Magic were able to snag a bevy of draft picks to fast-forward the rebuilding process, and Howard—following a second sordid soap opera in Los Angeles—has finally found himself in an ideal situation.
Heck, Stan Van Gundy even advised Howard to head to Houston, according to the Chronicle’s Jenny Dial Creech:
I talked to Stan a lot during last season. During the offseason, we talked and he felt like the system that would fit me best and the coaching staff would be Houston. He said he liked (Kevin McHale). He likes (Hakeem Olajuwon). He likes (James Harden) and the fact that this is a young team. It reminds him of the team we had in Orlando so he felt like this would be a good fit for me.
Here’s the thing: Unlike fans, coaches are actually trained to be objective about things, at least at times.
Regarding the reaction of Magic fans, let’s all agree on two things: First, Howard will eventually be welcomed back with something resembling open arms. His stint was simply too great—both individually and team-wise—to warrant permanent venom.
And second, the reaction could have been a lot worse.
Maybe by the time the Rockets visit Orlando next season, things will be different. Right now, the wounds are just too raw.
Then again, we might have to wait until Orlando's 50th anniversary for the two parties to once again become simpatico.