That was the reaction the last time Dwight Howard returned to Orlando. Turn down your speakers. The boos are loud.
And for good reason.
I have nothing against Howard leaving Orlando, but I’m also not a Magic fan. Part of the fan game is getting illogically mad about someone changing employers.
The game is up, though, apparently.
As a part of their ongoing 25th-anniversary celebration, the Magic will air a video tribute to Howard on Amway Center’s scoreboard during a first-quarter timeout.
The Magic have shown similar video tributes this season for former players and coaches who were visiting with their current teams. In most cases, Orlando’s typically disengaged fans have greeted the returnees with little more than polite applause.
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In time, the Magic should welcome back Howard. He spent eight years in Orlando, making six All-Star teams and leading the Magic to an NBA Finals. He is, considering both his longevity and success there, the best player in Magic history.
But this is too soon. He left on too bad of terms. Wounds are too fresh.
The Magic’s best course would have been ignoring Howard until it’s OK to celebrate him again, and that would have taken a few more years. But they backed themselves into a corner with their 25th-anniversary tributes. Don’t give him a video, and it’s noteworthy. Give him a video, and it’s noteworthy.
I don’t know what they should have done.
But I know what I would do if I were a Magic fan at that game: Boo as loudly as I could for every moment that video plays.