After the LeBron James “decision” process and television show, myself and a lot of others said that nobody could make a bigger public relations mess of their switching teams than LeBron.
Then along came Dwight Howard.
Two years of a roller coaster that had him out of Orlando, spending an uncomfortable year in Los Angeles, and finally landing in Houston was a mess.
“Last year, I felt like I was the villain,” Howard told Yahoo Sports. “Now, I feel like I’m an even bigger villain.”
Howard talked about how he related to LeBron through this — and how just like LeBron, winning is the way to repair that image.
“He got hated for a lot of reasons,” Howard told Yahoo. “I was really, really happy when LeBron finally won. I was unhappy that it wasn’t me up there, but I was glad to see him get through that whole thing.
“I knew exactly how he felt. People putting you down, saying bad things about your character, who you are as a person. It doesn’t sit well with you. When you go out on the court, you want to show them, ‘Hey, this isn’t who I am.’
I’ve said before, Houston and the next several years are where Dwight Howard’s ultimate legacy will be defined. He has come off as a guy looking to avoid adversity, to have things handed to him, these past couple years. He will not see it that way, but that’s the perception.
Now there is no moving on — he has to win in Houston. He can, they have the pieces to be a contender (with some roster tweaks and some time for this all to meld).
The question is how he will deal with the inevitable adversity, but if he answers that question and wins then he changes that legacy. As LeBron did (and Kobe before him). It’s not fair that winning whitewashes past mistakes, but welcome to America. It’s the reality.