Imagine Dwight Howard. Now envision the three celebrities to whom he most compares. Got all three stuck in your head?
Good. Odds are you and Howard disagree.
"When he told me he was an icon, guess what three names he used [to compare himself to]?" former Magic CEO Bob Vander Weide told George Diaz of the Orlando Sentinel. "Michael Jordan. Muhammad Ali. Nelson Mandela."
Vander Weide, who stepped down from his post in 2011 amid the Dwightmare scandal, said the way Howard viewed himself let him know the relationship was doomed.
"Are you kidding me?" Vander Weide said. "We've been to the Finals once and you're a great athlete, and you're an icon like these three? I knew it was over. I knew there was no chance of keeping him."
The Magic traded Howard to the Los Angeles Lakers in 2012. Howard spent one disastrous season in Los Angeles before signing with the Houston Rockets in free agency, with his skills slowly eroding due to a combination of injuries and declining athleticism.
Though still considered among the NBA's best centers, Howard is no longer the dominant force he was during his peak in Orlando. He averaged 15.8 points, 10.5 rebounds and 1.3 blocks per game last season while being limited to 41 games. Earlier this month, Howard admitted he played through a torn MCL and meniscus during the Rockets' playoff run.
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