Mar 6, 2014, 8:01 PM EDT
Dwight Howard returned to Orlando as a member of the Houston Rockets on Wednesday, and as part of the Magic’s 25th anniversary season, they played a video tribute to Howard between the first and second periods.
Plenty of fans let their disapproval be heard, and boos rained down on Howard as the video began. Howard said afterward that he was appreciative of the team’s gesture, and that he understands the fans’ level of frustration with the way things ended for him in the city.
“I think people remember all the bad things that happen,” Howard said. “They forget all the good things that happen. There’s a lot of great moments that happened here in Orlando.
“Last year, it was fresh for a lot of the Magic fans. They were upset with how things went down. At the end of the day, I think time heals all wounds. Even though it’s only been a year, I’ve forgiven the people I needed to forgive and hopefully the fans will forgive me for how the situation ended. My love for this city will never change.
“I played here. People are upset I left so they’re going to boo. They’re going to let their frustrations out. That’s totally understandable. I appreciate all the fans that did cheer. The reason I left had nothing to do with the fans. I’ll always been grateful to the people that supported me from day one.”
The fans may eventually forgive Howard for the way he forced his way out, along with the very public way he essentially lied about throwing his head coach under the bus in the process.
But honestly, it was too soon to pay tribute to Howard in this way, despite the fact that the team has done it for every past player that’s returned to Orlando during this anniversary season. Howard was bigger than all of them, and the fans are going to need much more than a season or two to get over the unprofessional and petulant way he abandoned the Magic franchise.
- Is Klay Thompson the best two-way shooting guard? Stephen Curry would ‘put him up against anybody.’ 10
- UPDATED Report: Timberwolves make push for Eric Bledsoe, Suns not interested in sign-and-trade talks 29
- LeBron James unveils latest signature shoe from Nike: The LEBRON 12 12
- ProBasketballTalk 2014-15 Preview: Toronto Raptors 10
- Dwyane Wade credits David Stern’s dress code for improving his style 18
- Kevin Durant has grown close with Karl Malone 15
- ProBasketballTalk 2014-15 Preview: Philadelphia 76ers 5
- Steve Kerr said Danny Ferry made mistake but is a “man of high character” 35