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Dwight Howard admits he learned lessons of LeBron decision too late

Sep 16, 2012, 5:01 PM EDT

Dwight Howard AP

There were lessons to be learned out of how LeBron James handled leaving Cleveland for the Miami Heat. A long list of what not to do. One was the pitfalls of hubris and that not everything can be spun positively.

Another was that people are going to hate you for that kind of move, and you have to accept that and not let it influence you.

Dwight Howard didn’t learn the second lesson until it was too late. Way too late. It was obvious to those of us on the outside, but Howard didn’t seem to get it.

Now he does. Howard sat down with ESPN’s Ric Bucher for an interview (check out Sunday night’s SportsCenter) and admitted as much.

“That’s one of the lessons that I learned, you know. I can’t make everybody happy,” Howard told Bucher…

“And it was a tug of war between my feelings and the fans and everybody else and their feelings and what happened to LeBron. And I saw him — everybody hated him for leaving Cleveland and what he did,” Howard said… “I never wanted anybody to hate me, you know. I wanted everybody to love me, you know, like me, for sticking around and doing what they wanted me to do. And making everybody else happy. And that was a valuable lesson for me, you know.

“I can’t make everybody happy.”

Well, duh.

It was a lesson that cost him a lot in public relations to learn. It was a lesson he should have known going in but he didn’t really study the history of how forcing your way out of a team was done.

LeBron was first but it was really Carmelo Anthony’s playbook that Howard followed… up until he wanted everyone to like him and waived his ability to opt out of his deal this summer (essentially removing his leverage to get traded at the deadline). It was a disaster. Howard wanted everyone to like him, and Howard just seemed to be going through the motions — “All the other superstars are switching teams, I guess I should, too.”

Howard goes on to say the only things he can say: I learned my lesson and I’m looking forward.

“I don’t have any regrets, you know. I think everything happened the way that it was meant to happen,” Howard said… “I really just wish some of the lies and some of the things being said didn’t come out the way it did, you know.

“But I have an opportunity to do something great here in L.A, and I can’t look back and think about everything that’s behind me.”

Howard’s next one is something LeBron and Kobe Bryant have already learned — you can bounce back from PR disasters if you win.

  1. worldbfree4me - Sep 16, 2012 at 5:26 PM

    Just play ball, win and keep cashing those checks young fellow! “Those that hate you don’t matter!!

  2. lakerluver - Sep 16, 2012 at 5:48 PM

    To quote the late Al Davis, “Just win, Baby”! Help the LAKERS to titles and Dwight will be loved like never before.

  3. dysraw1 - Sep 16, 2012 at 6:41 PM

    Kurt you use the term force his way out. that’s kind of invalid, because he would be free at the end season . he served the Magic well, by not signing for a re-up with the Magic, or even requesting a trade preferable the Nets he was just putting the ball in the Magics court.

    • eventhorizon04 - Sep 17, 2012 at 5:37 AM

      Requesting a trade and publicly stating you don’t want to be in Orlando IS forcing your way out in the NBA.

      • dysraw1 - Sep 17, 2012 at 11:36 AM

        his contract obligation was gonna end he was not gonna sign to me that’s the writing on wall,when a player does that in essence he saying hes moving on. Orlando should seen this and got the best deal they could. instead of hoping and praying to sway DH

  4. 00maltliquor - Sep 16, 2012 at 7:42 PM

    The only one of these big name players that walked away unscathed was CP3. He walked away about as well as anyone could. Deron Williams even more so, except Jazz management bailed him out and beat him to the punch!

    • money2long - Sep 16, 2012 at 9:12 PM

      that is, unless people in utah still dislike williams stemming from jerry sloan’s controversial departure,

    • money2long - Sep 16, 2012 at 9:21 PM

      and i do believe he was traded in that same season. sloan left mid season. and it just didn’t feel right. there were rumors of arguments between sloan and deron. deron at times was said to ignore sloan’s play calls and go improv. i think sloan had had enough and left. it came down between player and coach and sloan felt he was on the losing end and left (supposedly! allegedly!). williams was traded, i believe shortly after and the jazz went into a youth movement, getting derrick favors form the nets and drafting young talent.

      • 00maltliquor - Sep 16, 2012 at 9:36 PM

        Agreed. 100%

  5. buffalo65 - Sep 16, 2012 at 7:49 PM

    Laker will win nothing with this pant load in their lineup.

    • florida727 - Sep 17, 2012 at 9:37 AM

      If you sincerely think the Lakers won’t win with Howard, you’re either a hater or just plain delusional. No rational thinking human being would just flat-out dismiss the Lakers with the additions they’ve made… including Howard. Go ahead, root for your team, just don’t show your ignorance by making such an idiotic comment as that. BTW, I’m a Bulls fan, not a Lakers fan, but even I know they’re going to be a force to be reckoned with. They may not win it all, but they’ll be right in the mix to the very end.

      • rooney24 - Sep 17, 2012 at 4:48 PM

        It must be delusional, not hater. Even a hater has to admit the Lakers will win games, whether you like their players or not.

        Personally, I kind of hate Kobe (but admit he is very good), and not a huge fan of Howard (based on his attitude). But, I like Nash and think Gasol is underrated. Should I hate, like, or be ambivalent to the Lakers based on liking some players and disliking others?

  6. lakerluver - Sep 16, 2012 at 8:26 PM

    @buffy65, wishful thinking!! You “hope” the LAKERS won’t win with Howard. I beg to differ.

  7. thebadguyswon - Sep 16, 2012 at 9:39 PM

    SUPERTEAMS….reason #1 why the NBA sucks.

    • Kurt Helin - Sep 18, 2012 at 8:57 AM

      Yes, that’s why the ratings go through the roof for them.

  8. jagwar73 - Sep 16, 2012 at 9:51 PM

    Just not a very bright guy! You know?

  9. kicksave1980 - Sep 17, 2012 at 12:21 AM

    Am I the only one who gets annoyed when every other word is “you know”? Not picking on Howard…everyone seems to do it now.

  10. nokoolaidcowboy - Sep 17, 2012 at 6:01 AM

    Why label someone a hater just because they don’t like the same player you do? You like diva wannabe, planking, nut bags? Then that’s on you!

  11. eerock41 - Sep 18, 2012 at 11:30 AM

    Howard is a great player, now if he could just grow up and be a man. going to be fun being in orlando when the lakers come to town and seeing and hearing the fans rip on the cry baby, maybe they can make it so he wont even want to come out of the locker room. oh and i cant wait till the press in LA gets a hold of Howard. the tears will really start to flow then.

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