The biggest problem with your rise to prominence is that you face so many comparisons. For starters, as I’ve mentioned, you’re compared to Jordan for the title of Greatest of All Time. By joining the Heat, you’ve been constantly compared to Wade, because you’re both alpha dogs and probably the greatest in the game right now. You’ll always be compared to someone else because you’ve done nothing to set yourself apart from the other superstars, from hiding from your Cavs teammates and fans to hiding the Jordan Crawford video footage of him dunking on you.
Take a look at your teammates, specifically Wade and Bosh, after the Heat lost to the Mavs. Wade shook hands and congratulated his opponents. Bosh momentarily broke down crying, presumably from the intensity of his desire to win, but I believe it was also because of the pressure from the criticisms we’ve subjected him to. You walked away, shaking no hands as usual, shedding no tears, and offering us nothing more than rubbing our noses in the mistakes of our own lives.
I’ll make another comparison, more relevant than ever, because even Carmelo Anthony escaped the scrutiny you faced with the Decision. Dwight Howard announced yesterday that he will not sign his two-year extension and will test free agency at the end of the 11-12 season. He’s saying the right things to the media (“I want to have my own path, and I want to start that here in Orlando.”) and he’s hosting events in Orlando and speaking to his fans, telling them that he wants to stay. You’re right if you’re telling me that he’s conducting a smoke and mirrors act, too. But he’s not pulling the same disappearing act that you pulled by hiding from the media, fans, coaches and ownership. And even though he can’t hide because he still has one year left on his contract, he’s still pointing his finger at Rich DeVos and Otis Smith and telling everyone, “They’re the people responsible for my future.” And that’s all you ever had to do.
Is Howard selfish? Possibly. Is he throwing someone under the bus? Of course. But is Howard preparing his fans for his departure if his team cannot give him what he’s asked for? Indeed he is, and some of his fans are going to hate him for leaving, but most are going to respect him for leaving with honesty and class. Many people may never see you as honest or classy, but the least you can do for once is try.