Dwight Howard’s blockbuster trade from the Orlando Magic began a rebuilding process for his former team that it’s still in the process of undergoing. Given the eight-time All-Star’s laughable remarks to Orlando front office personnel before his departure, though, three subsequent seasons of losing and a recent coaching change are surely a bit more palatable than they appear on the surface.
In a story by George Diaz of the Orlando Sentinel, former Magic CEO Bob Vander Weide recalls a conversation with Howard during which the big man compared himself to not just a pair of living athletic legends, but one of the most influential politicians, social activists, and philanthropists the world has ever seen.
“When he told me he was an icon, guess what three names he used [to compare himself to]?” Vander Weide said. “Michael Jordan. Muhammad Ali. Nelson Mandela.”
Let’s pause for a sec while we all do a faceplant.
“Are you kidding me?'” Vander Weide said. “We’ve been to the Finals once and you’re a great athlete, and you’re an icon like these three? I knew it was over. I knew there was no chance of keeping him.”
It’s certainly strange that Vander Weide elected to share this utterly ridiculous tidbit several years after it allegedly took place. That he’s had no affiliation with Orlando since resigning from the team in July 2014 only makes the timing here more confusing.
Nevertheless, it’s Howard who deserves far more scrutiny.