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Orlando Magic to honor Dwight Howard

Mar 5, 2014, 11:45 AM EDT

That was the reaction the last time Dwight Howard returned to Orlando. Turn down your speakers. The boos are loud.

And for good reason.

Howard made his split with the Magic extremely messy.

I have nothing against Howard leaving Orlando, but I’m also not a Magic fan. Part of the fan game is getting illogically mad about someone changing employers.

The game is up, though, apparently.

Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel:

As a part of their ongoing 25th-anniversary celebration, the Magic will air a video tribute to Howard on Amway Center’s scoreboard during a first-quarter timeout.

The Magic have shown similar video tributes this season for former players and coaches who were visiting with their current teams. In most cases, Orlando’s typically disengaged fans have greeted the returnees with little more than polite applause.

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In time, the Magic should welcome back Howard. He spent eight years in Orlando, making six All-Star teams and leading the Magic to an NBA Finals. He is, considering both his longevity and success there, the best player in Magic history.

But this is too soon. He left on too bad of terms. Wounds are too fresh.

The Magic’s best course would have been ignoring Howard until it’s OK to celebrate him again, and that would have taken a few more years. But they backed themselves into a corner with their 25th-anniversary tributes. Don’t give him a video, and it’s noteworthy. Give him a video, and it’s noteworthy.

I don’t know what they should have done.

But I know what I would do if I were a Magic fan at that game: Boo as loudly as I could for every moment that video plays.

He might even appreciate it.

  1. moseskkim - Mar 5, 2014 at 12:01 PM

    magic to honor dwight.. dwight will continue to dishonor the magic. too soon? too soon

  2. au1978 - Mar 5, 2014 at 12:16 PM

    Considering what Howard did to the booing Lakers fans, Magic fans may want to try a different strategy. But I think the Magic leadership made the right decision. He was their star for 1/3 of the franchise’s history–acting as though he didn’t exist or contribute anything would be stupid.

  3. ravenswhat - Mar 5, 2014 at 12:19 PM

    lol. Why??

    • ranfan12 - Mar 7, 2014 at 6:13 PM

      Took them to a rare finals appearance and played well for most of the time he spent there. Good enough reason.

  4. mustangs2 - Mar 5, 2014 at 12:25 PM

    The cuts are still fresh so I don’t expect a happy reaction from Magic fans.

    Surprised they’re doing it so soon.

  5. casualcommenter - Mar 5, 2014 at 12:26 PM

    The Magic have some very good young pieces already and are set to add even more young talent in the upcoming drafts. They have a very clean salary cap sheet going forward as this is the last year of the huge amnestied Gilbert Arenas contract.

    I like this move a lot. Acknowledge the past in a classy way, let bygones be bygones, and then focus on looking forward with optimism.

    • casualcommenter - Mar 5, 2014 at 12:28 PM

      (While the amnestied Arenas contract technically didn’t count against the Magic’s salary cap this year, the fact that they were still writing him a $22 million check still hurt financially even if it didn’t show up on the salary cap because they are a small market franchise)

  6. alongthegulf - Mar 5, 2014 at 12:54 PM

    There were a lot of misleading by somebody in the hierarchy of the Orlando Magic, possibly Otis Smith, or the owners son-in-law leading up to the departure of Dwight Howard. That somebody told lies to both Stan Van Gundy and Dwight Howard about each other. That lead to the rift between coach and player. That’s when Howard first asked to be traded. The minute Howard asked for the trade, the fans turned against him. Howard and SVG settled their differences when they discovered both had been mislead, but the fans didn’t forgive Howard request to be traded. Howard had the option go leave a year early. Even when Howard said he wouldn’t use that options, fans still didn’t forgive him. I’ve been a Magic fan since the team was awarded the franchise and bought my 1st Magic T-shirt long before the team hit the court. I watched the fans turn against Shaq and Howard. I can to the conclusion Magic fans are the most fickle fans in the league. Maybe it’s the Orlando lifestyle. Having lived in greater Orlando, it is a little different lifestyle. Magic fans are nothing like the LA, Boston, New York die hard fans. I think it time for Magic fans to forgive Howard and thank him for his contributions to the Orlando Magic during his tenure. Life is too short to keep holding a grudge.

  7. franchiseplaya - Mar 5, 2014 at 1:08 PM

    He may not have been there as long, but Shaq is the best player in Magic history, not Dwight.

    • dondada10 - Mar 5, 2014 at 5:47 PM

      Hell, I’d put Penny Hardaway ahead of him, too.

  8. lastdukestreetking - Mar 5, 2014 at 1:10 PM

    It would seem petty fot the Magic org to ignore Howard. They’re honoring a great many former Magic players, both retired & active with other teams, as part of their 25th anniversary. Some/most/all fans there tonight may boo as is their right.

  9. andrewoherron - Mar 5, 2014 at 1:28 PM

    I don’t care how you try and spin it, Tracy McGrady > 50 Feet of Crap > Dwight Howard

  10. csbanter - Mar 5, 2014 at 2:47 PM

    The Magic and Siberia have lots in common. No one wants to be in either.

    • cruzan80 - Mar 5, 2014 at 3:12 PM

      Did you just start watching the NBA a year ago???? Horace Grant, Grant Hill, Tracy McGrady, Hedo Turkoglu & Rashad Lewis???? The Orlando Magic never had a problem signing big name free agents….don’t see why that would change now. It’s still Florida & there’s still no state tax.

  11. psubeerman21 - Mar 5, 2014 at 3:24 PM

    In related news, the Sixers plan to honor Bynum when he returns with the Pacers later this year. I guess teams have too much time on their hands.

  12. themagicfanguy - Mar 5, 2014 at 6:15 PM

    Small market? Not so much.
    Don’t forget that Tampa and Orlando are pretty close, they kind of share fans. Lots of Rays and Lightning fans in Orlando and lots of Magic fans in Tampa.

  13. lastdukestreetking - Mar 6, 2014 at 8:29 AM

    And if it wasn’t for his girlfriend, Tim Duncan would have signed with Orl that same year with GHill & TMac

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