It’s not in Dwight Howard’s nature to keep his head down, keep a low profile and just grind it out. I don’t intend that as an insult — he is gregarious, outgoing, talkative, and if you ask him a question he’ll pretty much answer it.
Howard sat down with the a reporter from the L.A. CBS affiliate and in the interview said this about his time in Orlando:
“And I always tell people: Hey, my team in Orlando was a team full of people who nobody wanted, and I was the leader and I led that team with a smile on my face.”
That went over in the Orlando locker room about as well as you imagine it would.
Jameer Nelson took the lead and did everything but tell Howard to shut up in a conversation with the Orlando Sentinel.
“At some point, when are you [Dwight] gonna as a man, when are you going to take ownership and stay out of the media in a professional manner?” Nelson told the Sentinel after Wednesday’s shooatround in Miami.
“I would be less of a man to comment on certain things that people comment on about me and my teammates. We had a great run as a group, as core guys, and he was a part of it (reaching the 2009 Finals) and for him to say things about anybody in a negative manner, that’s up to him.
“That’s his opinion. If that’s how he feels, that’s how he feels.”
We said it before the season and it still remains true — Howard’s reputation has taken a hit in the last year and the only thing that salvages it is playing well on a winning team. Kobe Bryant, LeBron James both were down and won back at least a measure (if not increased) their popularity by leading title teams. It is Howard’s only path.
I’d suggest he not talk so much while doing it, but that goes against his nature.