Whether you want a template for how to turn a franchise against you, are a masochist Magic fan or just want to read about what life was like for everyone else inside Orlando the past year, a “Dwightmare” has arrived. That’s the e-book published this week by the Orlando Sentinel that includes scenes of disgruntled players talking to reporters in street medians, perpetual disgust and a pervading sense of deep discord from everyone in the franchise not named Dwight Howard. The actual Howard nightmare year appears far from over. This is the first draft of an ugly recent history.
Brian Schmitz has been a sportswriter for 37 years and he’s currently the Sentinel’s “Magic Insider,” which led to the reporting for the 77-page book whose whole title is “”Dwightmare: Dwight Howard, the Orlando Magic and the Season of Dysfunction.” In a piece publicizing the book by the Sentinel, Schmitz said, “You could call it ‘The Days of Dwight.’ Only there were no scripts; it was all happening in real time.” That’s the case for this book, too, which sits somewhere in the spectrum of much longer than a takeout piece but not quite a full afternoon of reading, either. Magic fans’ (and the journalists who cover the team every day) options for recourse against Howard are extremely limited, but this is one way to say Well we don’t want you either. It will be incredibly dated by next winter, of course, but consider it a reference piece for future front-office executives.
It’s clear one of the main bones of contention with Howard, from this book and nearly every other outlet, is his “me, me, me” attitude, and how that’s manifested itself into his trade demands in the past year. It shouldn’t be a surprise if you’ve seen his personal website and its biography. These are actual ways Howard allows himself to be described.
His muscular physique resembles a 6’11 bronze statue of Apollo. His resume belies his 24 years of age while reading like the first chapter of a sports monopoly. The home grown Atlanta, Georgian has pillared his brand on ferocious dunks and electric smiles.
His exuberance is as vital to fans, setting a new NBA All-Star voting record in his name (3,151,181 – the most votes ever in the history of All-Star) as is his physicality. His statistics are as benevolent as his philanthropy. Simply put, Mr. Howard is the most attractive combination of power and personality the NBA has seen in decades.
That’s not a joke. Neither is his trade demand or the reality that comes with it that the Magic won’t be back to the Finals soon without a player like him.
Here’s a video of Schmitz talking about the book, which of course recounts a situation that’s still unresolved. It’s possibly the “Dwightmare” could stay until December 15, when players who signed contracts this summer can first be traded. It could be the time when teams look at their first month of games and decide they need to bring in a player like Howard.
The Magic’s players certainly don’t want him around, anyway. One of the juicier bits from the excerpt released last month include an interview from a player so upset with Howard’s antics he gave an interview to Schmitz in the median of a street outside the team’s training facility. From an excerpt from the book:
Teammates could not argue with their superstar’s harsh critique, but he had lost some credibility and clout with them. How could Howard question their commitment to winning when he was looking for a door out of Orlando?
They wondered how Howard could cavalierly dismiss his trade demand and say “none of that stuff matters,” when it was suffocating the team.
After a news conference at Amway Center announcing that Howard elected to waive an opt-out clause in his contract and would remain with the Magic, a player pulled his car off into the median of the road in front of the building to talk with a reporter. Cars whizzed by, honking at the parked vehicle.
“Can you believe all this? It’s freaking me out. It’s unbelievable,” he said, dropping his head and bumping it repeatedly on the pad of his steering wheel. “It’s all about one guy.”
Earlier in the excerpt, then-coach Stan Van Gundy predicts his own demise.
Would any of them be included in a deal for Dwight or traded in the Magic’s effort to keep him?
“There’s a little bit of a sense with the group that this isn’t permanent,” Van Gundy said. “The players have to feel it and wonder what’s going to happen. But it’s not something that’s going away until the situation resolves itself. I’m sure the locker room feels different, but our practices feel good, and our guys have been very professional.
What do you think?
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