Ruin a season. Ruin a franchise. Desert a city. Bail on a kids’ camp. Jerk the fans around. Contribute to the coach and GM being fired.
But hey, if you write a really nice letter, everything should be just fine, right?
Dwight Howard posted a letter in the Orlando Sentinel Sunday, in a full-page ad along with photos of all the kids who will never see him play for their local team again.
“To play the game of basketball in the NBA is a blessing and to have had the opportunity to play before the Orlando fans for eight years was truly a privilege and an honor.
“Words cannot express the love that I have for Orlando. With your support we have done great things in this city from hanging banners to impacting our youth.
“Although my career with the Magic has come to a close, my love for the city and the people that make it beautiful will never end.”
I’m touched. Orlando’s touched. Everyone’s touched.
Look, I get the sentiment. Howard wanted to say thanks for all the things that didn’t make a bit of difference when stacked up against market power, branding, and party-party-party-all-the-time. He wanted to leave things in a classy way, after one of the least classy exits in NBA history. But Howard should have left it alone. He trounced the franchise, the city, the people who invested in him. And he has the ability to do that, circumventing the intent of having a contract in the first place. Good for him, for going the extra mile to do what’s best for him and him alone.
But to make this kind of platitude after everything that’s gone on doesn’t seem disingenuous, it seems downright two-faced. Howard genuinely did a lot of good for the city of Orlando, and really did make connections which matter to him.
But if he really wanted to keep those relationships in a good place, maybe he shouldn’t have done…oh, anything over the past year?