Jeremiah Short, Feature Writer
The drama that was “Dwightmare” came to a climactic end after Dwight Howard agreed to a four year, $88 million dollar contract with the Houston Rockets, leaving the 16-time world champion LA Lakers with an uncertain future.
The deal puts Howard in a perfect situation. He gets to work with Kevin McHale and Hakeem Olajuwon year round. He gets to join a fun, hip team with championship potential. And he gets to escape the incessant whining of Kobe Bryant.
Now that Dwight has chosen his team. He needs to do something else for the rest of us: MAN UP.
In 1 Corinthians 13:11, Paul writes: “When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put aside childish things.”
Paul wrote this over 2000 years ago. It might as well apply to Dwight Howard in 2013. Howard is at a serious crossroads. The media and fans alike are tired of his childish ways. And they are ready for him to put them aside as Paul did.
Bible verses and Dwight Howard should never go in the same sentence.
Howard is the perfect guy to use a bible verse on. He came into the NBA purporting to be a man of God who wanted to add a cross to the NBA logo. He’s been everything but that, though.
Howard has performed like a superstar over his nine-year career–averaging 18.3 points per game and 12.9 rebounds per game, to go along with 2.2 blocks per game. But he’s left others, namely Shaquille O’Neal, desiring more from the 6’10, 270 pound center.
“I would like to see him average 28 (points) and 10 (rebounds),” O’Neal said the night he got his jersey retired by the Lakers. “That’s the number that was thrown in my face, 28 and 10, so that’s the number I’m always going to throw in his face.”
He’s the league’s premiere center, but his team can’t dump the ball down to him in the last five minutes of a game.
Lacking a credible low-post game in year one. Cool. Year two. Cool. Year three. Cool. Year nine. Not so cool.
Why hasn’t Howard developed a post-game? Immaturity.
Howard has refused to take responsibility for his lack of a post-game. He refuses to admit: “I need to get better.” He refuses to admit: “I have to get better.”
Howard has refused to get better. But he constantly blames others for his shortcomings. Oh, Stan Van Gundy needs to go. I need better teammates. Kobe won’t be nice to me.
Yes, Van Gundy panics in tight moments in games. Yes, His supporting cast wasn’t the best in Orlando. Yes, Kobe needs to fall back.
All that may be true. It doesn’t mean that Howard shouldn’t man up. Everything isn’t always other people’s fault.
Howard is the one that hasn’t developed a post-game. He’s the one that acts like a child on the court. He’s the one that couldn’t make his mind up the last two years.
Howard wanted to be in Brooklyn. But he chose to exercise his player option. Guess what Dwight: If you had opted out, you would be playing for Brooklyn and would have never played for the Lakers.
It’s your fault. I repeat, it’s Dwight David Howard Jr.’s fault. No one else. You have to man up and accept responsibility for your mistake.
Howard’s irresponsible behavior has carried over to his personal life. Royce Reed, the mother of his first child, revealed that Howard has eight children. (Alleged not confirmed.)
Now, I’m not trying to be a sanctimonious bible thumper condemning Howard for fornicating. But I do feel his irresponsibility with women highlights a lack a maturity.
Howard isn’t the first guy to have “baby mama” drama. Those guys didn’t come into their profession saying they were going to bring Christianity to it, though.
How would everyone view Tim Tebow if he had eight kids out of wedlock? He would be called a fraud, a fake, a hypocrite. All adjectives that accurately describe Howard.
Can he man up? Yes he can.
He’s already taking some steps. After deciding to sign with the Rockets, he flew to Los Angeles and told Mitch Kupchak, the Lakers’ general manager, face to face that he wasn’t going to re-sign with the team.
Following the meeting, he thanked the team and its fans via twitter: “I’ve decided to become a member of the Houston Rockets,” Howard said. “I feel its the best place for me and I am excited about joining the Rockets and I’m looking forward to a great season. I want to thank the fans in Los Angeles and wish them the best.”
These are baby steps. But we all have to start somewhere.
Howard working with Olajuwon this off-season is another sign that he wants to get better. He’s worked with him before.
Will Howard take heed this time? I hope he does.
The childishness, excuses and immaturity will no longer be tolerated. Howard has no choice but to MAN UP!