As we all know, Dwight Howard is finally a member of the Los Angeles Lakers. A year ago, that seemed like a very plausible scenario aside from them keeping Pau Gasol in the end of the trade. Along the way, though, there were multiple dots on the timeline that is “The Indecision” that turned the people against Dwight Howard.
Howard’s original desired destination was the new Brooklyn Nets. Apparently, he wanted to be the star of a market that sorely needed someone to leave their brand on it. He wanted the bright lights of New York and all of the perks that came with it. Not to mention playing with an All-Star point guard in Deron Williams. After a while, it was also said that Howard could end up being a Dallas Maverick by the end of this seemingly never-ending saga. Then Houston came into the picture, but Howard didn’t want to go there.
Then, once again, the Nets were back in the picture with the Mavericks as a close second once again. There were even rumors about Howard being flipped for Blake Griffin and Deandre Jordan and playing for the other team in La La land. However, in the end, Howard ended up in the blue and gold. Now he’ll be looked at as the team’s number two star after only Kobe Bryant himself, as far as fame goes, and will be responsible for the success of many Laker teams in the future.
Though the saga that was deemed Dwightmare by mainstream media outlets is now over, how long will the stigma from it remain on Howard? To some, Howard’s actions were worse than that of LeBron James’ in making his decision on where to play after leaving Cleveland.
If that holds true and this does resonate with the public as being a worse action than what happened in Miami–even without the parade and the broadcast–then will Dwight Howard ever be loved in the NBA again?
Of course, I believe the answer to that question is yes. And I also don’t feel that it will take a long time for the healing process to being. Here’s why.
The number one reason why I don’t think that Howard’s indecisiveness will resonate for long in the public eye is because of his teammates. He’s on the same team as Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash. Those are two of the most beloved athletes in the sports world today. They’ve been through their own trials throughout their life, but now that they are in the twilight of their careers looking to accomplish the ultimate goal of a championship together, they’ve gotten nothing but positive PR from the majority of the public. Especially Nash.
I believe that the same effect will rub off of Dwight Howard. After all, he is one of the most charming and charismatic players that play the game today. You can’t help but laugh at some of the on–and off–the floor antics that Dwight Howard puts on. This goes from the Superman cape during the dunk contest to even an impersonation of his former coach–who he apparently hated–in Stan Van Gundy.
The second reason goes along with the teammate card, really. Howard will be on a team with three other recent All-Star caliber players–most notably Kobe Bryant. He’ll almost always take the pressure off of Howard when the Lakers fail to accomplish anything. As a big, its his job to set up in position to get the ball. He’ll rarely have the ball in his hands to create something for himself. Now, if there is a defensive lapse, Howard will most certainly take most of the blame. But offensively, he’s got nothing to worry about really.
And last, but maybe the most important factor here, is that Howard will be on what could be the best team in the NBA. This team will win a lot of games once they actually hit the floor. There’s an age old saying in sports that we all know. Winning Cures Everything. Majority of the time, that’s a very true statement. You can look around the sports world for proof.
Kobe Bryant hasn’t always been the most loveable player. After Shaq left the Lakers, it was all Kobe. The story on him was that he couldn’t get the team over the hump. Not too much later, the Lakers trade for Pau Gasol and they win two titles together. Now, Kobe is at the top of the food chain when it comes to individual player fanbase.
The same thing goes for LeBron James. Toward the end of his time in Cleveland and the majority of his time in a Miami Heat uniform, LeBron was the worst player in the NBA in the public eye. I’ve seen tweets and blogs that have named at least ten players who were better than LeBron James. He couldn’t hit the broadside of a barn with his jumpshot. Not to mention the fashion in which he joined the Miami Heat added fuel to the fire.
Now, there are people who’ve openly stated that LeBron James is the greatest player to ever pick up a basketball. People can’t get enough of him. That’s what an NBA championship and an Olympic Gold will do for you.
The same thing could happen for Dwight Howard. Though he isn’t as big of a star as either Kobe Bryant or LeBron James have ever been, he’s got enough of a star for people to feel a certain way about him.
Howard will eventually become one of the most beloved athletes in the NBA once again. It will just take plenty of time, patience, and most importantly winning.