Dwight Howard, you do not get to have it both ways.
The center was in Paris recently, part of a promotional tour by adidas, and said the Magic do not get enough love from the American media. It was part of an interview with the French magazine Reverse, transcribed by web site TalkBasket.
“I really think we get no love at all, to be honest. But that’s ok. We want to be respected by the teams we play and that’s the only thing that matters. The media can pick whoever they want to win the title, but the team that wins the title is the team that plays. The media doesn’t play a game. I’m pretty sure nobody thought that the Dallas Mavericks were ever going to win the title this year. It’s not about what anybody else says. It’s about what you believe. I believe in myself and in my team. We’ll bring our team to the top, then we will get some respect.”
Is there any player on the planet that doesn’t think the media is out to get them? That their team doesn’t get enough love?
Here’s a little clue: “the media” doesn’t love or hate anyone, not really. “The media” is not some mindless, faceless entity. We’re a bunch of people looking for stories to tell. Stories that people will read. How you react emotionally to said stories depends on your perspective. From your perspective Dwight, look at it this way: Give us good stores to tell (like the year you made the finals), you feel loved. You get knocked out of the playoffs by the Atlanta Hawks, you probably won’t like the stories we tell. It’s not rocket science.
I think the Magic got a fair amount of love at the start of last season, they were thought of as potential contenders. Sure, Boston, Miami and Los Angeles were the favorites going in, but the Magic were on the periphery of that discussion, much more in the discussion than the Mavericks. The difference is, the Mavericks overcame injuries and obstacles, while the Magic made a poor mid-season trade then got bounced by the Hawks. You didn’t like our stories at that point, but they were the truth.
Media attention is a double-edged sword. Howard wants the attention but on his terms. He wants to keep the pressure on the Magic to improve the team by not signing a contract extension, but doesn’t want anyone to ask him and speculate about trades or where he may go if he leaves. It doesn’t work that way.
You want the media to give the Magic more love? Probably like you think the Mavericks are getting now? Then earn it. The Mavericks won, with that comes stories of adulation (because that’s what people want to read about the winners). No doubt Howard had another strong season but Orlando had a terrible playoffs. There needs to be roster moves but they are now saddled with the contracts of Gilbert Arenas and Hedo Turkoglu making that hard. Drafting DeAndre Liggins isn’t changing anything.
Sorry if that doesn’t feel like love to you. But it’s the only story Orlando has given us to tell.