What LeBron James did, what Carmelo Anthony did, what Dwight Howard is doing — that does not sit well with an older generation of players.
Say, for example Oscar Robertson. Mr. I averaged a triple-double for an entire season. One of the game’s 50 greatest players (easily).
Robertson — one of the trail blazers of NBA free agency — was on the radio in Orlando talking about the Dwight Howard situation with Mike Bianchi, who also writes for the Orlando Sentinel and transcribed what the Big O told him.
“Keep your mouth shut and play basketball,” said Robertson, who was a guest on our radio show Wednesday and will be in town during All-Star Weekend to raise awareness for prostate cancer. ”If he wants to be traded, he’s going to be traded. Go and talk to the owners and say, ‘I want to be traded’ and keep it a secret.’ In a situation like this, he can’t win. … Anytime they (Magic) stumble and fall and every time they get beat, they’re going to blame Dwight Howard and it’s totally unfair because it’s not all his fault. I don’t think management has done a great job in keeping certain players on the team. They had a nucleus of players that got them to the Finals and then, all of the sudden, it’s gone downhill.”
Robertson is right, everyone is culpable here. The Magic front office put themselves in this position due to poor personnel moves. Howard could have been quiet about this.
But the fact remains this is no-win for Howard. Whatever choice he makes now, wherever he plays next season, he will alienate some people. He can’t be liked by everyone anymore.
But Robertson’s advice is good for the next star whose contract comes up and wants to keep his options open — “Keep your mouth shut and play basketball.”