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Dwight Howard posts letter to Orlando fans in local paper. Isn’t that sweet?

Sep 2, 2012, 9:21 AM EDT

Los Angeles Lakers Introduce Dwight Howard Getty Images

Ruin a season. Ruin a franchise. Desert a city. Bail on a kids’ camp. Jerk the fans around. Contribute to the coach and GM being fired.

But hey, if you write a really nice letter, everything should be just fine, right?

Dwight Howard posted a letter in the Orlando Sentinel Sunday, in a full-page ad along with photos of all the kids who will never see him play for their local team again.

“To play the game of basketball in the NBA is a blessing and to have had the opportunity to play before the Orlando fans for eight years was truly a privilege and an honor.

“Words cannot express the love that I have for Orlando. With your support we have done great things in this city from hanging banners to impacting our youth.

“Although my career with the Magic has come to a close, my love for the city and the people that make it beautiful will never end.”

via Dwight Howard says he loves Orlando in newspaper ad – Orlando Magic BasketBlog – Orlando Sentinel.

I’m touched. Orlando’s touched. Everyone’s touched.

Look, I get the sentiment. Howard wanted to say thanks for all the things that didn’t make a bit of difference when stacked up against market power, branding, and party-party-party-all-the-time. He wanted to leave things in a classy way, after one of the least classy exits in NBA history. But Howard should have left it alone. He trounced the franchise, the city, the people who invested in him. And he has the ability to do that, circumventing the intent of having a contract in the first place. Good for him, for going the extra mile to do what’s best for him and him alone.

But to make this kind of platitude after everything that’s gone on doesn’t seem disingenuous, it seems downright two-faced. Howard genuinely did a lot of good for the city of Orlando, and really did make connections which matter to him.

But if he really wanted to keep those relationships in a good place, maybe he shouldn’t have done…oh, anything over the past year?

  1. chex1868 - Sep 2, 2012 at 9:26 AM

    Dwight lives in a fantasyland. He and his PR people are clueless.

    • tashkalucy - Sep 2, 2012 at 9:32 PM

      At least he didn’t go on national TV for an hour and stick the Orlando fans faces in the mud like LeBron James did to the people of Cleveland.

      • cullenand99 - Sep 2, 2012 at 11:04 PM

        Umm…LeBron played out his contract, not hold his team hostage. LeBron didn’t act like a 3-year old and get a pretty good coach fired. Was “The Decision” not the smartest thing to do? Sure. But what Howard did was, in my opinion, 5 times worse than what LeBron did.

      • 1historian - Sep 3, 2012 at 7:48 AM

        That was more than 2 years ago. He has apologized for it numerous times. Lebron is perfectly entitled to go to work wherever he pleases.

        Get over it

    • deeballer - Sep 3, 2012 at 6:21 AM

      Lebron also did a sign and trade to benefit Cleveland with some picks from Miami, which he wasn’t even obligated to do, but did it anyways. No that it matters, but the “Decision” also benefited the Boys and Girls club with probably a million bucks. All Dwight did was weave webs to deceive and carpet bombed the Magics organization.

  2. knightrider1755 - Sep 2, 2012 at 9:37 AM

    Let it go Dwight.

  3. cantonbound13 - Sep 2, 2012 at 9:52 AM

    Atleast there was no decision show.

    • dragon57 - Sep 2, 2012 at 1:31 PM

      The Decision raised at least a million dollars for the Boy and Girls Club, all howard did was get the team coach and gm fired but that’s OK, right, cause lebron is the worst person in the world because decided his own future and helped a lot of children at the same time.

      • cantonbound13 - Sep 2, 2012 at 3:55 PM

        Danny Ferry & Mike Brown got fired before the big decission? Know your facts before commenting.

    • eugenesaxe - Sep 2, 2012 at 6:56 PM

      Are you serious? His show was called “the nightly news for over a year”.

  4. chicagosworth - Sep 2, 2012 at 10:05 AM

    @chex1868 what do you mean PR people? And as for how he left the team, he makes LeBron cringe.

    • miamatt - Sep 2, 2012 at 12:59 PM

      Couldn’t agree more: Lebron’s exit from Cleveland was a disaster in it’s own right, but Dwight Howard killed a city, then came back with a bat to beat the corpse repeatedly over the course of a year. Not to mention he has a very punchable face.

  5. patfic15 - Sep 2, 2012 at 10:19 AM

    This guy is a moron. Everything about him is fake…from his hypocritical Jesus-speak early in his career, to this idiotic ad that most, if not all Magic fans will surely disregard as a PR stunt…a horrible one at best. Move on Dwight…thank God you are not playing in my hometown.

  6. onbucky96 - Sep 2, 2012 at 10:31 AM

    So sick of NBA players running teams. Hope he marries a Kardashian and ruins his career. Superman, sure.

  7. raidmagic - Sep 2, 2012 at 10:38 AM

    Well this makes it all better….

  8. manchestermiracle - Sep 2, 2012 at 10:43 AM

    Yeah, it was all one-sided. The Magic blew the team up right before drafting Howard and what other important pieces did they add in all the years Howard was there? Well, let’s take a little ride down those eight years Howard suffered in stupidville.

    GM Weisbrod fired head coach Johnny Davis after telling him he’d be there for the 04/05 season. And this after firing Doc Rivers before Howard got there. Yeah, Doc never amounted to much, did he? The Magic traded Tracy McGrady, Reece Gaines, Tyronn Lue, and Juwan Howard to the Houston Rockets for Steve Francis, Kelvin Cato, and Cuttino Mobley, then immediately traded Mobley for Doug Christie. They acquired center Tony Battie and two second-round draft picks from the Cleveland Cavaliers in exchange for Drew Gooden, Steven Hunter, and the draft rights to Anderson Varejão. The Magic then signed free agent Hedo Türkoğlu. Then Weisbrod abruptly bailed out. The Magic missed the playoffs.

    Eleventh pick in the ’05 draft? “Uh, we’ll take Galician Fran Vazquez, who we apparently never spoke with, because he’s gonna stay in Spain on orders from his girlfriend.” Then Rich De Vos (the team owner) gives the club to his kids to play with. And management kept blowing up the team throughout the year. Despite that, and a starting five of Battie, Howard, Türkoğlu, DeShawn Stevenson, and Nelson, the Magic just missed the playoffs.

    Eleventh pick in the ’06 draft? “Uh, we’ll take JJ Redick, but we won’t play him.” And the injury bug hit, sidelining Tony Battie, Keyon Dooling, and Grant Hill. Despite the team’s poor play Howard went to his first All Star game. The Magic had a losing record for the year, but made the playoffs for the first time since before Howard arrived. Coach Brian Hill is fired.

    The day after signing Billy Donovan to coach the team for five years he asked out of the contract. A few days later they signed Stan Van Gundy. They gave Rashard Lewis a max deal.

    The 07/08 team won its first division title since 95/96 and they made it to the second round.

    08/09 was their best year yet, despite losing Nelson for most of it. They lost to the Lakers in five games in the final.

    In the 09 offseason the team got another makeover, trading Rafer Alston, Tony Battie, and Courtney Lee to the New Jersey Nets in exchange for eight-time All-Star Vince Carter and Ryan Anderson. Hedo Türkoglu, as part of a sign-and-trade, was sent to the Toronto Raptors. They then made several free agent signings. On July 10, former Dallas Mavericks power forward Brandon Bass was given a 4-year deal. On July 21, the Magic signed former Phoenix Suns Forward Matt Barnes. On August 19, they signed former Miami Heat point guard Jason Williams.

    Beginning to see the pattern here? They do poorly and just about everyone except Howard is dealt. They do well and just about everyone except Howard is dealt. Their draft picks were poor, their free agent signings poorer.

    09/10 sees Rashard Lewis suspended for elevated testosterone levels, Vince Carter turning an ankle in the second game, Jameer Nelson injuring his knee, etc. They still won their third consecutive division championship and fourth consecutive playoff spot. The only consistency was Dwight Howard. They lost in the conference finals to Boston.

    10/11? Signings include Chris Duhon and Quentin Richardson. In December they pretty much blew up the team yet again. They traded Vince Carter, Marcin Gortat and Mickael Pietrus to Phoenix for (again) Turkoglu (who led them to the 09 Finals when they lost 4–1 to the Lakers), Jason Richardson and Earl Clark. Rashard Lewis was traded to Washington for 3-time All-Star Gilbert Arenas. They lost in the first round of the playoffs.

    At the start of the 11/12 season Howard has finally had enough and asks for a trade. Ignoring him the Magic did a sign and trade with the Boston Celtics for Glen Davis and Von Wafer in exchange for Brandon Bass. The Magic also amnestied Gilbert Arenas and signed Larry Hughes, Justin Harper, and DeAndre Liggins. They lost in the first round of the playoffs. In the 2012 draft they selected Andrew Nicholson and Kyle O’Quinn.

    With that eight-year record of bad picks, bad signings and bad trades (to say nothing of coaching changes and allowing the offspring to run the club) it’s so obvious to the “experts” that the whole thing must be Howard’s fault. I’m surprised he lasted as long as he did in that fetid fiasco. But he’s the big name, so when he finally decides to call it quits there are plenty of pundits who are quite willing to ignore the incompetent management, as the incompetent management ignored Howard’s trade request.

    The final result? The Magic are blown up yet again, will be horrible in the coming season and thus have a chance at a high draft pick. Here’s hoping they do better homework on the pick, because I can’t see many quality players wanting to come play in the soap opera saga they call Orlando. Dwight Howard? Oh, yeah, the Dwightmare that destroyed Orlando has moved on to a club that is well-run, highly respected, and will likely be in the finals in the next year or two. That butthead got just what he deserved.

  9. timb12 - Sep 2, 2012 at 10:59 AM

    You know what? I don’t think he’s that bad of a guy anymore….NOT!

    If “Not” jokes aren’t still funny, please disregard my comment.

  10. jolink653 - Sep 2, 2012 at 11:27 AM

    Who would have ever thought that Dwight would wind up being just as hated if not more hated than Lebron…Totally torpedoed any good sentiment anyone had for him outside of LA…Clown

  11. tombstone7 - Sep 2, 2012 at 12:43 PM

    I am so tired of Dwight Howard. I am a Laker fan and really didn’t want him to sign with the team. Dwighr is a drama Queen in hightops. Geez, hope Kobe b!!ch slap him early on and tell him in his best Cher impersonation, “snap outta of it!”

  12. jssgriffi - Sep 2, 2012 at 1:02 PM

    Howard and his fake ass glasses. And his fake ass personality. Hope he ruins the lakers too!

  13. dysraw1 - Sep 2, 2012 at 1:15 PM

    ruin a franchise yeah this is all his fault the franchise people involved in this aren’t at fault at all. sure its poor pr. but blaming DH for the entire blow up well that’s crazy. if i were a gm. an my best player is not signing his re-up then i got to make moves. its just that simple.

  14. ncm42 - Sep 2, 2012 at 1:49 PM

    Agree completely with everything in this piece. But I must ask…is there a rule at NBC sports that every article must contain one paragraph starting with “Look,…”?

    • cosanostra71 - Sep 2, 2012 at 2:00 PM

      lol

  15. jamesinva - Sep 2, 2012 at 2:19 PM

    All of the thumbs downs are from Laker fans..the SAME fans who said “F Dwight Howard, Andre Bynum is better anyway, we dont need his sorry a.ss” then the trade happens and its ” YAYYY WE GOT THE BEST C IN THE LEAGUE< GOOD RIDDANCE BYNUM!"

    idiots.

    • money2long - Sep 2, 2012 at 4:07 PM

      There’s a fine line between loyalty and bias. Ask Kobe. Not once did he throw Bynum under the bus during the Dwightmare, just like LA’s fans. But ask yourself if Kobe is smiling knowing Dwight will be in the post.

      • money2long - Sep 2, 2012 at 4:12 PM

        P.S.
        Dwightmare would be such a cool nickname, if it wasn’t connected to this free agent mess.

    • 00maltliquor - Sep 2, 2012 at 4:42 PM

      I don’t recall anyone on here that’s an LAL fan say good ridance Bynum.

  16. mydadyourmom - Sep 2, 2012 at 3:01 PM

    Look, it is.

  17. nickbrezzy - Sep 2, 2012 at 5:09 PM

    I hate how people get mad at NBA/NFL players for leaving teams & doing what’s best for them >_<

  18. lakerdownunder - Sep 2, 2012 at 5:52 PM

    I get why people think he’s to blame…he’s the visible face of the franchise (or was) and he went on and on and on…but at the end of the day the ONLY people ACTUALLY in charge and control of what happeneded were the Orlando management. They were the ONLY ones who could trade him or not, suspend him or not, resign him or not.

    They are the ones ultimately responsible.

    • eugenesaxe - Sep 2, 2012 at 6:58 PM

      Except he could’ve walked last year, instead of opting in for his final contract year.

      • lakerdownunder - Sep 2, 2012 at 7:24 PM

        Yes in theory (well in practise as well) but the reality was that the Orlando management needed to make a decision to trade or roll the dice. They rolled the dice (AGAIN) and ended up with the same result…no supporting team for a disgruntled star. Again the whole process was in their hands. It’s not like he didn’t make his displeasure with the situation known!

  19. spankygreen - Sep 2, 2012 at 6:51 PM

    STOP APOLOGIZING…..STOP IT, STOPI….Ownership, including that idiot of a coach Van Gundy is to blame for this guy leaving due to not putting a TEAM around him……Use my two words for the Magic franchise and anyone who feels they need an explanation as to why Mr Dwight Howard left………Fu$k you and go to hell….Audi 5000 Bit$$$$ches.

  20. dmitchell624 - Sep 2, 2012 at 7:39 PM

    Maybe, just maybe he loved the people and the city of Orlando and maybe the owner and front office were what he needed to escape?

    • eventhorizon04 - Sep 3, 2012 at 7:18 AM

      Yep, that’s why he skipped out on his $250 a person basketball camp in Orlando while walking around LA and attending baseball games.

      To hide from the owner of the Magic, not from “the Magic fans he loved.”

      Get a clue.

  21. slippyal2 - Sep 2, 2012 at 9:18 PM

    I bet Orlando fans will tell him to kiss their collective ass.

  22. 1historian - Sep 3, 2012 at 7:45 AM

    Given that the actual trade was weeks ago I have 2 questions.

    1) Whose idea was it to write the letter?

    2) Who wrote it?

  23. omniusprime - Sep 3, 2012 at 8:58 AM

    What was worse than Dwight’s goodbye letter in the paper to the Orlando Tragic fans? Matt Moore’s drivel here about it. If the Tragic fans don’t appreciate Dwight’s effort to bid a fond farewell then they don’t deserve his best sentiments in the first place. As always Matt Moore has to create controversy in order to get his pathetic articles read. Maybe Tragic fans ought to get a clue and find a better team to root for, like say the Los Angeles Lakers who win championships often and now have the best center in the NBA. Go Lakers!

  24. playin2x - Sep 3, 2012 at 9:36 AM

    Still classier than doing it on national tv .. Listen I agree with u and all but leBron was the worst exit ever. Nobody left like that before and to say it the way he did I sad “taking my talents”

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