Surgery Repairs Dwight Howard’s Reputation

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By DERON SNYDER

It seems like only yesterday that Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard was among the NBA’s most popular superstars. A lovable giant with an electric smile and fun-filled personality, Howard was one of the league’s “good guys.”

But then this season turned into a drawn-out soap opera, As Dwight Turns, with Howard vacillating between wanting to stay and wanting to leave. He made a last-minute decision at trade deadline in late March, deciding to stick around for at least one more year, with no guarantee that the scenario won’t be repeated next season.

Instead of a decrease in drama after Howard signed the necessary paperwork, the adventure continued and the dysfunction escalated. Two weeks ago embattled coach Stan Van Gundy confirmed reports that Howard told management that  he wants the coach fired. Then Howard tried to save face in a TV interview but did himself no favors by admitting that he has requested Van Gundy’s firing in the past.

Howard went from being the face of the NBA to being a lower body part on the opposite side. The bottom fell out Thursday, one week before the playoffs begin, when an Orlando TV station reported that Howard won’t play for Van Gundy anymore. Other media outlets shot down the report, but the damage was done in the court of public opinion. He was ripped for being a quitter and would-be coach killer.

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