Dwight Howard Was The Perfect Host But Noticeably Absent On Game Night





ORLANDO – At the end of a long and entertaining All-Star weekend, Dwight Howard could sit back and survey all that he had done and know that his mission was accomplished.

He put on a show for his city, made sure the stars turned out here and covered all of the All-Star weekend bases with parties, events and all the bells and whistles revelers have become accustomed to with the NBA’s version of the Super Bowl, or as NBA Commissioner David Stern called it on the Hang Time Podcast last week, “the best three and a half days in sports.”

Howard was the perfect host all the way through Sunday night’s pregame announcement at Amway Center, when he greeted the crowd and thanked them for helping make the event what it was.

And then he promptly vanished into the ether for the next three hours. The game itself, a tight-in-the-final-minutes 152-149 win for the Western Conference, was played with Howard as little more than a set piece. His Eastern Conference teammates did their best to keep him involved and Howard flashed his trademark smile aplenty, but it was a largely forgettable performance from the big man on his home floor and in the splendid building built in his honor.

It was the strangest thing I saw all weekend, and that includes Nikki Minaj‘s space age pregame performance that included six or seven wig changes before the All Stars took the floor for the game. After spending 72 straight hours as the non-stop life of the party, it was like someone flipped a switch and turned Howard off once the game tipped off.

Howard had every right to push back on questions regarding his future and the potentially landscape altering decisions that both he and the Magic organization have to make with the March 15 trade deadline looming.

Still, there was an uneasy feeling surrounding Howard’s presence from the moment the Hang Time crew set foot in town last Wednesday. Howard came through our lair and spent some quality time with comedian JB Smoove in what turned out to be one of the most genuinely hilarious moments of the entire affair.

Even though he was in the middle of the action from start to finish, Howard had a vacant look about him the entire time. His explanation for not wanting to impose himself on the game in particular was more than reasonable.

“I just wanted to have fun, get out there and make the game interesting,” he said. “You know, for me, this is what I wanted to do. I didn’t really care about getting the ball. I get the ball with my team. That’s what matters.”

But if this was one of his last showcase games in this city and arena, if he does end up being traded in a couple of weeks, that eerie feeling  I had watching him on the final night of All-Star weekend will be on my mind.

As we packed up our things at game’s end and surveyed the emptying arena, I stopped and chatted with an Amway Center official about the end of what was surely an exhausting weekend for he and his colleagues and about how impressed I was with palace that is Howard’s current building.

“This place is a shrine,” he told me. “I know there are some other fine arenas around the NBA. But can any of them boast the amenities you see here?”

I pointed out a couple of my favorites, reminded him that Madison Square Garden has been refurbished and that the Staples Center never fails to impress and that all of the newer arenas contain the contemporary amenities the ticket buying public demand.

“They don’t look like this, though,” he said. “We have the best of it all right here. And we built this for Dwight. Why would he want to go to Brooklyn or Los Angeles when he’s got all of this right here? The idea of losing him makes me sick to my stomach.”

He had that same vacant look Howard has been wearing for weeks when he said it.


45 Comments

  1. Aurah_12 says:

    LeBron James is the best player in the NBA. ;D

  2. Lornee' says:

    EAST should’ve 1…D-rose all day!

  3. Ryan says:

    I think dwight should really tell people what he is up too because he is losing fans fast! I was a big dwight fan but over the lat few months ive been really dissapionted how he has disconnected from the fans and slightly from the game! if hee can man up and make this whole trade business about the basketball then i have no problem. I dont even mind if he gets traded .

  4. somesone says:

    He needs to go to the lakers they also need a decent point gaurd because derek fisher was good but not any more.

  5. JDizzle says:

    I believe its very difficult to keep every player connected to the game, especially an “All Star” game. There is only one ball. Everyone had to of known that there were going to be certain players to take shots. You can tell by who had 35+ points and who had less than 15. Personally, it wouldn’t be my way of coaching an “All-Star” game. If I wanted to see 35+ points from a couple of players I would have watched a Lakers or Heat game. These so called top players can’t even play together in an All Star game.

  6. NBEATZ says:

    THIS GAME WAS A LITTLE BORING. I THINK THE ALLSTAR STARTERS SHOULD PLAY THE MAJORITE OF THE GAME, THE STARTS AND THE ENDS OF QUARTERS. The first 4 minutes and the last 4 minutes. of each quarter.
    This game is about the fans and I think that the coaches need to realize that and award the allstars based upon states AND showbissinuss. Rubio Would have been great over Parker. De Andrea over Bynum, J-SMOOTH over Pierce, Amare over Hibbert. The Dunk contest was auwfull. Bring in some stars stop allowing the fans to vote so the contest doesn’t become a popularitie contest and give that back to celebrity judges and the arena itself. Bring in Bron, Griifen, Igudola, J-Smooth, Russell, Durant, Derozan, De Andrea, Wade, Rose, Amare, McGee, Wall and others with some star power to bring us to watch. The skill compition was fine, the celebrity game was the same as always fun to watch, but not great. The three point compition needs no more then what they have been doing, some future hall of famers, some new commers and the same old great # point % players.
    The haier Shooting comp is fun, but nothing more. Maby adding the stars from each team both past and present would do some good, I mean Jerry for atlanta, Fields from New York, Chandler Parsons for Houston????? Why not J Smooth, or T-Mac for Atlanta, Melo, Staud, Lin for New York, Martin, Lowry for Houston.
    Why was there no HORSE compition this year. Durant leading the pack with players like Manu, Le Bron, Steve Nash, Love, Wade to follow, Some of the games best players with some of the best % based shooting seasons. This weekend was week this year, lets make it better going forward.

  7. Jukka75 says:

    well i did see him playing and having fun. Maybe he was saving some legs for the rest of the crazy schedule? Cant blame him for that…

  8. natefilewood says:

    Its only an all-star game… its always been about the shooters anyways right? And it should be about the players having fun, putting on a show and seriously, if Dwight wants to shoot some 3’s, crack on. There’s no way he could do that for the Magic so he may as well have some fun and play out of position for a few minutes… No big deal, surely.
    He will go and Im afraid that the Magic will get nitto for their efforts. They could be a contender, but Otis Smith hasnt helped the situ and hasnt put any championship pieces around Dwight.
    Sad really, cos its a great city…

  9. angry100aa says:

    I went to a Magic game last season and he is their hero. If he left the Magic, it would just be devastating. However, if he really wants to win a championship, he’s gonna eventually have to realize that that’s not gonna happen in Orlando.

  10. t-ray says:

    lebron iS DA BEST AND DWIGHT SHUD GO TO HOUSTON IN DA SUMMER WITH D WILL

  11. ManchildNoMore says:

    On second thought… I’ll join the Knicks!
    TRADE: Melo, Chandler, Douglas

  12. ManchildNoMore says:

    If I CAN’T beat them, I’ll JOIN them…. ATLANTA HAWKS!
    TRADE – Josh Smith, Jeff Teague, Stackhouse, Radmanovic, Dampier
    KEEP – Green, Pachulia, Pargo, McGrady, Johnson, Collins
    C – Howard
    PF – Horford
    SF – M. Williams
    SG – Joe Johnson
    PG- Hinrich

  13. Baron says:

    Dwight is not a celebrity. So stop acting like he’s one. Why do you all care if he stays in Orlando or moves to a differnt team? Just let the guy decide for himself. Afterall, he’s the one earning the money. Why do you all care how he plays? At the end of the day, he’s got nothing but himself. So why should he give a damn about your comments?

    • yowyowbaron says:

      DWIGHT? not a celebrity? are you insane?
      well he’s a great Center indeed, he’s defensive plays, he is not too famous as durant,rose or whoever player, but he’s a great player. he’s a great lose indeed in Orlando if he’ll be traded.

  14. Kobe@Philippines says:

    Ok.. give Dwight to Nets.. then Lakers will get Deron and Pau will go to Orlando.. That’s a fair deal..

  15. Le Witzki says:

    If he wants championship, go to DALLAS!!!

  16. G6 says:

    The way I see it, Howard will leave Orlando in the dust… they will miss the playoffs, won’t have a chance in the draft and the magic… will be lost for 2-3 seasons :( I only hope Dwight team up with D-Will, couse he deserves better teammates, no matter with the Nets or anywhere.. he has A game!!!

  17. jables says:

    Stop smiling and actually do something, then people might respect you.

  18. anonymoose says:

    things like these get ugly because the media is putting their own spin on the situation. the guy wanted to be traded and thats that. period. he knows he cant get it done the way the team is being run in orlando. I just wish he ends up with a coach who can develop his game, someone like doc rivers or greg pop. gundy just didnt know how to take advantage of dwight’s strengths.

    • Webstro says:

      WOW Anonymoose..

      Whe are sharing the same thought.
      I was just thinking a few second ago that the Spurs or Celticts are the best fit for D12.
      Let people and the media do what they want. Its every body’s right to comment about their opinion.
      D12 have also the right to deside what he wants to do the rest of hes career.
      Pop or Rivers can make the best use of hes talent. Stan is a good coach but D12 doesn’t fit in hes system.
      Maybe The Magic wil get better with a good deal than trying to keep D12.
      Beleive me, No one better than Pop or Rivers can fix this guy.
      The Spurs are the only team that have enough players to make a good deal for Howard.
      I,m not even a Spurs team. But they are maybe the best organization in the NBA.

  19. iceman22 says:

    i agree with you KC.. go for the best dwight :)

  20. iLOVEthisGAME says:

    Dwight Howard to NY Knicks.

    Carmelo Anthony and Tyson Chandler to ORL Magic.

  21. NBAaddicted says:

    Dwight better to join Miami HEAT. LOL!

  22. jenn says:

    im still trying to figure out why Dwight Howard kept practicing all those 3 pointers but he did say in a pre interview that he would be shooting those and he missed a lot..i know this game is all about having fun but it seems like he wasnt even trying

  23. MJ says:

    D12 is even worst than LeChoke. Al least, LeChoke didn’t go around and express how would he feel if he can play with Deron, be in Celtics, etc.

  24. Tyson says:

    Dwight Howard is somewhat of an idiot. I’ve observed him over the years and it seems like he isn’t a very bright kid. His decisions, the things he says, the beefs, etc. He seems lost, like he doesn’t have any sense.

    Two All-Star games in a row he flops. This one was the worst. FOUR 3-POINTERS??? REALLY??? i know it’s an All-Star game and your supposed to have fun. But FOUR?. One is funny (by a center) Two is acceptable. But when your team is down by 20 points in YOUR OWN CITY and you are being beaten silly by the other team the entire game, make a better decision than to take your FOURTH 3-pointer.

    Superman?? Give me a break, it’s been done you idiot, IN ORLANDO… BY A BIGGER “BIG MAN” (ie: Shaq). Get your own identity.

    Ditch Orlando to move to LA?? Again, it’s been done by the same guy you’ve been copying your entire career.

    Trying to be a movie star? (ie: Just Wright) YOU CAN’T ACT. Maybe if you stop trying to be Hollywood and focus on the game you pretend to love then your team wouldn’t keep losing in the playoffs.

    Dwight Howard does not love basketball. Dwight Howard loves Dwight Howard.

    Forget D12. Forget about Superman. I got a nickname for you that is more fitting of your personality:

    D W I G H T C O W A R D

  25. I think Howard was so peacefull cause of the heavy rumor he is heading to the Lakers and Bynum to the Magic then Pau to the wolves and Barea to Lakers too.!!! Any truth on this ???

  26. DJ1234567890 says:

    last year’s all star weekend was much more fun!!!

  27. tom says:

    The play, especially by the east in the 1st half, was so sloppy that I turned off the game. One would think that the east team would at least try to win when playing in an eastern conference city. But these egomaniacs could care less about the fans. If Dwight wants to leave this arena behind, then I hope the door hits him in the butt when it closes behind him. I was a season ticket holder for over a decade. But, with the attitudes that the star players have these days, in the words of Edgar Allan Poe: “Nevermore”.

    • KC says:

      I’m confused by comments like this villifying our star athletes. I suppose you’re an Orlando fan but you don’t think players should be able to choose where they play or who their teammates are.

      It’s true that Orlando has been good to Dwight, and that the team has gone to lengths to try and put a good supporting cast around him. But it’s wierd how people turn on him when he asks his team to play hard. Maybe he could have said it better but everyone’s thinking it. Orlando has had the tools needed to compete this year but they’ve definitely phoned in some games, for whatever reason.

      I don’t see why it’s “wrong” for Dwight to want to play on a team that wants to win as much as he does. If wanting to win is an ego thing, then Dwight is guilty. But don’t we as fans want to see these athletes play their hardest? Should talented players suffer because their team’s owners aren’t good at putting together a championship team? I know other people will disagree, but there hasn’t been a season during the “Dwight era”, even when they made it to the finals, when I thought Orlando had a real chance to win the championship. How long should Dwight wait? Until he suffers an injury or slows down to the point when he is no longer dominant?

  28. Ben (not the other one) says:

    Yeah as surprisingly good as the Magic’s record has been we’re still waiting for the inevitable. I think he WILL be traded and both he and the organization will be better off for it. I would hate to see him leave, but it’s been awkward to watch Dwight this season. He seems so disconnected to the point of where he looks uncomfortable in front of the tv, whether it’s an interview or just watching him play. I believe we can bring in another superstar next season and make a deep playoff run, but it looks like Dwight wants to move immediately. I’ll be so mad if the Lakers land him lol, they’ll still need a PG to spread the floor but they’ll be almost unstoppable. I know that Laker fans are just fine with Gasol and Bynum, but Bynum has a hard time staying healthy, and Gasol doesn’t have the athleticism that Howard does (even though Gasol is a better mid-range shooter). New Jersey would be a likely fit, Deron would be challenging Lob City every night lol.

  29. WORST EVER NBA ALL STAR WEEKEND. ONLY GOOD THING WAS KOBE AND DURANT.
    TELL CRY BABY LEBRON JUDAS, TO STFU. AND TRY TO FIND HIS 4TH QUARTER.

    DWIGHT HOWARD WAS NOT THERE AT ALL~~SAD DAY~~FOR THE NBA.

    • eesa says:

      LeBron actually had a decent 4th quarter (for once lol)

    • Draper 4645 says:

      I’m sure if any of you will not have enough sleep you will ack worst than Dwight. Lack of sleep will make a person like drunk. Try observing yourselves people.

  30. buzzkillington says:

    Here’s an idea. Maybe let’s stop treating men who play sports for a living like deities or ancient egyptian pharaohs (same thing). Maybe let’s stop building them “shrines”, and crawling at their oversized feet for attention, and pouring money on their heads in hope they bless us by deigning to play for one team or another. Maybe that will help get them down to earth and set this silliness straight. IT’S A GAME, PEOPLE.

    • Shane says:

      It’s not just a game, buzzkillington. It’s a business. There are economical ramifications to the city of Orlando if the Magic are terrible and without star attractions. If we are strictly talking about Dwight as a player and the NBA as a game, then I’m a big sports fan with perspective. As an Orlando native, it makes me sick to see all of these people and campaigns begging Dwight to stay. Life goes on. The NBA will go on. There will be another superstar for you all to worship in a few years.

  31. ShakenBake says:

    Dwight will leave orlando. he didnt show up in the all star game so it will be easier for him to leave the city for good. Next stop – Lakers, Nets, Bulls or Hawks

  32. prix says:

    Dwight don´t need to be the next Lebron or Melo..He need to simply request and wait and be loyal to the fans of Orlando..who knows D´Will or John Wall will be there and makes the team as competitive as before..now we have 3 great team in the East..Orlando, Bulls and Miami..the West has only OKC for now or maybe the Blazers next year

    • Renato says:

      You´ve got to be kidding me when you say that.In inter-conference games the west has the advantage for the past few years and this season again.And Orlando couldn´t even get to the second round of the playoffs last year,losing to the Hawks.The Magic wouldnt be able to survive in the West.They´d be facing in the playoffs teams like:Lakers,Mavericks,Grizzlies,Spurs and now the Clippers, and would probably lose.Anc all those teams i´ve quoted,are great teams,or very good teams,and should be on your list along with the three you wrote.

    • Kyle says:

      Whaa? Who said Orlando is a great team in the East? With D-Will of John Wall they’d have a chance to be great, but right now they are terrible. I’ll give em that they can win some games and will finish 4 or 5 in the East, but they are going nowhere. Isn’t it obvious.

      Portland’s got a long way to go too, as much as I like them. The Clips and the Spurs are much stronger than the Blazers though. Lakes will make a late run too.

  33. Magic Fan says:

    Very boring all star game, not as bad as the dunk contest though. Dwight did look disconnected, more of an on looker than a player. Slow getting back, barely making it past the top of the key most of the times or trailing the play. Seen this in a lot of magic games too. He needs to man up, tell the people what he is doing. Second half is starting, we can’t be left hanging.