This is one of those situations that really says more about how you feel about players being friendly with opponents than it does about the situation.
The Orlando Magic not only beat the Dwight Howard and his new team the Lakers on Sunday night, they embarrassed their own teammate. They went to hack-a-Dwight on the guy they stood by for so long in Orlando and watched him go 9-of-21 from the stripe.
After the game, Howard left the court without shaking any Magic players hands.
That didn’t go unnoticed, but the Magic players didn’t really care, either, reports Josh Robbins in the Orlando Sentinel (hat tip to the Hang Time Blog):
“That’s fine,” Magic point guard Jameer Nelson said. “Certain guys don’t shake hands after the game. I don’t have any hard feelings to the guy. He made a decision to do what he did. He’s on the team that he’s on. I’m here in Orlando, where I want to be. I just wish him the best of luck. I’m not going to go up and hug him and kiss him or anything like that. I think my coach would be mad at me.”
“If he wants to walk off the court, it’s cool,” (Glen) Davis said. “No hard feelings, you know? He lost. I would feel bad, too. I wouldn’t want to shake anybody’s hand. So it is what it is.”
Howard clearly seemed a little beaten down and frustrated in post-game interviews. That was not fun for him.
But like I said, how you feel about him shaking hands really speaks to how you feel about an NBA where most of the players are friends off the court. If you think Howard did the right thing you are old school, you like the idea that Kevin Garnett won’t speak to Ray Allen now. If you think Howard was being unsportsmanlike, you are of a newer mindset that gets players can go hard at a guy on the court and shut those feelings down when the game ends and be friends.
Think what you want, as Big Baby said it is what it is.