Dwight Howard: Superman Returns. Will Howard Leave Orlando For Brighter Lights?

Gabe Feller-CohenContributor IIIFebruary 3, 2011

ORLANDO, FL - NOVEMBER 11:  Shaquille O'Neal #33 of the Cleveland Cavaliers looks to maneuver against Dwight Howard #12 of the Orlando Magic during the game on November 11, 2009 at Amway Arena in Orlando, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

This is the ongoing story of two dominant centers.

Both were drafted with the first overall pick in their respective drafts by the Orlando Magic, and both were physical specimens from the moment they entered the league.

Shaquille O'Neal and Dwight Howard have both had connections to Superman.

"The Diesel" has the supernatural "S" embroidered on the headrest of his convertible and inked on his skin. And Howard has donned the red cape for the NBA dunk contest, having acquired the moniker belonging to Clark Kent himself.

Shaq spent the first four years of his career with The Orlando Magic--earning the Rookie Of The Year award, and helping his team to the playoffs the following three.

However after his rookie contract expired, "The Big Aristotle" signed as a free agent with the prestigious Los Angeles Lakers. In his first year with the Lakers, O'Neal made more the ten million dollars, and in his final year with the team he made nearly 25 million. He won three championships with the Lakers.

But his relationship with teammate and Lakers co-star Kobe Bryant took a turn for the worse.

They began to feud, forcing Lakers management to make a tough decision--a trade with the (now infamous) Miami Heat.

The deal netted the Lakers (amongst others) Caron Butler and Lamar Odom. Odom went on to help the Lakers win the last two NBA titles.
ESPN's Ric Bucher reports "if all doesn't go just right in Orlando he's looking to follow Shaq's path - as he has with so many other things - to LA."

Dwight Howard is set to become a free agent at the end of the 2011-2012 season.

Howard is in his seventh season with the Magic, and has gotten them to the playoffs all of the last four years. But the Magic have not yet been able to break through and win a title with Howard manning the post.

Magic GM, Otis Smith had this to say: "At the end of day, I think he wants to stay here and wants to win here."

Well Otis, at the end of the day that's what many thought of LeBron James in Cleveland. There really is no way to be sure of what Howard will do. And it is almost certain Howard himself has yet to figure out his future plans.

With members of the media saying he will leave Orlando, and members of the Magic staff saying he will stay, Howard will have some choices to make following the 2011-2012 NBA season. 

Dwight Howard is loved by fans around the NBA for his charm, humor, and spectacular talent.

Well, so is "The Big Shamrock," (one of the many nicknames O'Neal has given himself).

They are both (really, really, really) big kids, who get to do what they love for a living (Howard's first commercialized shoes even read "Man Child" on the tongue). Through all of his stops in the NBA, Shaquille O'Neal remains loved and admired, even being on most people's list of the top ten NBA players in the history of the game.

And his career's not even over.

Perhaps it wouldn't be such a bad career move for Howard to take his talents out to the West Coast.