Finally, it has happened. Center Dwight Howard had his wish granted and is no longer a member of the Orlando Magic. While he stated a vague desire to remain with the Magic through the entire 2012-13 season and then exercise his rights as a free agent, I figured that Howard would be dealt, at least before the NBA trade deadline. Rather than end up like the Cleveland Cavs, post-Lebron, and Toronto Raptors, post-Bosh, the Magic wanted to put themselves in the position the Denver Nuggets were in after they traded small forward Carmelo Anthony to the New York Knicks. Unfortunately, I don’t think the Magic did a good job of emulating the Nuggets in this case.
Regardless of who won and lost the trade, there have been two incredibly annoying characters in this story. They would be Dwight Howard and the sports media, who have double-teamed the hell out of sports fans in an effort to drive us up the freakin’ walls.
During this entire process, it has been: Yes, Howard wants out of Orlando. He wants Magic head coach Stan Van Gundy to be fired. Now they have kissed and made up. He somewhat threw his own teammates under the bus. Then, he expresses a desire to stay in Orlando, I guess. Wait…now he wants to play in Brooklyn, seriously. Okay, now he’s decided to exercise his player option for the 2012-13 season, which means he wants to stay with the Orlando Magic until the day he dies. Now the Nets aren’t the only team on his wish list? Could we construe certain cryptic statements as his longing to be teamed up with Derrick Rose in Chicago? Here come the media! Houston wants Howard. Now Brooklyn wants him, but maybe not as much as we initially thought. Houston wouldn’t mind renting Howard, even if it meant they’d have to gut their roster. Rumors of Mark Cuban’s Mavericks getting in on the Howard talks? Framework for a Blake Griffin/Dwight Howard trade? Blog post, article, blog article, posticle…all about where Dwight Howard could end up, and why he’s such an incorrigible assclown.
Granted, Howard didn’t help his cause by flip-flopping, and at times, trying to play the role of the victim. He could’ve squashed all of this malarkey early on had he just let everyone know with one definitive answer, whether it be that he had every intention to play the 12-13 season in another uniform or Orlando’s. However, everything that I listed in the previous paragraph was made known to the public because of the media. I’m sorry, but did Howard tweet all of those rumors? Did he somehow manage to write dozens of articles and blog posts about this “trade saga”? Correct me if I’m mistaken, but were not the Magic aware of the fact that he wanted to play in Brooklyn? If you were to ask the average NBA fan familiar with all of this crap where Dwight wanted to play in 12-13, wouldn’t most of them have quickly answered, “Brooklyn”? Did Howard take over SportsCenter and air his story repeatedly? Why be so upset with Howard when the media kept pushing the story on us? Basketball media types such as Chris Broussard, Chris Palmer and the like kept fanning the flames, long after the overwhelming majority of us had plainly expressed that we no longer cared where Howard ended up, even if it was on our favorite team. Most of us just wanted it to be done; for all of this to go away and never come back.
I don’t follow sports media members on Twitter, and I even keep my espn.com browsing to stats, previews, box scores and standings. Personally, I don’t need to read 1,832 opinions on what type of person Dwight Howard is. Suckers got fooled by the media into thinking former Penn State football coach Joe Paterno was some sort of saint, and we now know it isn’t unfair to say he was the antithesis of that. This is not to say that I had knowledge of his heinous transgressions, but I believe I am simply too smart to allow the media to shape my opinion of a person that I have never had the privilege to meet. Everyday, sports fans read and listen to the opinions of writers, columnists, analysts and experts and too many then take them on as their own. Never mind that some in the media have biases and agendas. It’s almost like many of us just want something to believe in besides what’s actually in our own heads.
As I stated earlier, Howard is partly to blame for the anger and frustration directed towards him. By “partly”, he has to accept some sort of culpability because he’s the main character in the story. While I wouldn’t dare say I’d cast him as the protagonist, he’s certainly not the antagonist many have made him out to be. Please, don’t take this as me telling you that you shouldn’t be irked by Howard, but I do think it’s a little shallow to solely fault him for what you’ve chosen to endure.
Whether it be music, entertainment, sports, politics or general news, members of the media are simply conduits of information, who have been employed to report to us what they perceive to be pertinent facts. My main qualm with a good number of the more prominent media types nowadays is how they have seemingly forgotten their duty as journalists, and now walk the path of glorified bloggers. I won’t say that I never once thought, ‘Oh, just go away, Dwight Howard’ during all of this. Yet, as I think of the main cause for those feelings, I have to attribute them to the media and their nonchalant devotion to rumors, hearsay and last but unfortunately not least, their own damn opinions.
When these types of stories make the news circuit, I don’t side with the athlete/team or the media. I only want to hear a statement from the athlete/team and for the media to report on that statement alone. However, no imaginary pass should be given to the media, allowing them to then go on a tangent, telling us about their sources’ findings and their own gut feelings. Perhaps I’m too old-school for modern sports, especially when it comes to the way they’re reported on. Then again, maybe I’m just too sensible.
P.S. The Lakers still won’t beat the Thunder in a best-of-7. Yes, I am a Bulls fan. No, I am not a “Lakers hater”.