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Dwight Howard appreciates Magic’s tribute video, claims to understand booing from fans

Mar 6, 2014, 8:01 PM EDT

Dwight Howard AP

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.

From Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle:

“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.

  1. capspats - Mar 6, 2014 at 8:04 PM

    Who other than Howard needed forgiveness?

    • apkyletexas - Mar 6, 2014 at 11:59 PM

      I watched the video, and didn’t hear any booing. Not saying there wasn’t any, but also not sure this is really a story.

      • theeCodyTaylor - Mar 7, 2014 at 1:20 PM

        I was there and there was definitely booing going on during the video tribute. He was also booed each time he touched the ball.

  2. campcouch - Mar 6, 2014 at 11:05 PM

    I wouldn’t say he forced his way out. He did waive his opt-out clause in the hopes of going to the Nets,but Orlando made the terrible deal that sent him to the Lakers. It didn’t seem like they tried hard enough to get something more for him.

  3. themagicfanguy - Mar 7, 2014 at 10:09 AM

    @camp They tried plenty hard. It’s difficult to get a good trade done when the player ruins your leverage by leaking which teams he wants to go to, I think under the circumstances Hennigan did a great job with the trade.

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