If you own a television set or have at least walked by one lately, the chatter surrounding the Los Angeles Lakers is deafening. In the off season the Lakers made an attempt to join the current fashion trend of the NBA, and build a super team like the Miami Heat and many others. When Dwight Howard and Steve Nash were inked to wear the purple and gold, many watchers automatically hailed the Lakers as one of the favorites to win the championship this season. That was then. Now, with the Lakers struggling to make the playoffs, key players injured and apparent personality problems within the locker room, not only is this season in question but the future of the franchise.
The Lakers put everything on the line when they traded center Andrew Bynum for Dwight Howard in the off season. Dwight Howard is only under contract for one year, and the Lakers obviously planned on a successful season giving Howard the incentive he needed to resign a multi-year deal.The bright lights of Los Angeles have exposed Dwight Howard to a level of scrutiny he never experienced though. That same exposure has also given fans a closer look at Howard. Granted what we are seeing is not the full Dwight Howard physically, knowing he’s still healing from off-season back surgery, but Its not the physical readiness that everybody seems to be questioning.
The questions all surround his mentality. Howard’s attitude and effort so far doesn’t seem to fit with Kobe or Coach Mike Dantoni. Howard is coming off as weak and selfish, and as a guy who is more interested in having fun than winning. Now, The future of the Lakers is balancing uncomfortably on his wishy washy attitude. He will leave a team high and dry, as he proved after he had a hand in Coach Stan Vangundy being fired in Orlando, and then leading the Magic franchise and fans on, as if he was going to stay, and then left them high and dry. Now he has Laker nation in a state panic, hoping he doesn’t pull the same BS he did in Orlando and bolt. If he decides to leave he could possibly set the Lakers championship aspirations back ten years.
Dwight Howard is a center, and the The Lakers Franchise is the home of the greatest centers in NBA history. If he stays, he could go down with names like Mikan, Chamberlin, Abdul-Jabar and O’neal. Lakers brass are basically setting it up to hand him the keys to the franchise, as Kobe fades out into retirement in a couple more years. so if he leaves what does that say about him? Leaving what many consider to be one of the greatest of all sports teams is inexplicable, if Howard is truly about winning a championship. Isn’t that why the great ones play the game? Wherever he goes will be a step down, and the expectation of winning in cities rumored to be interested in singing him, like Atlanta or Dallas will greatly decrease. His legacy will seemingly be tarnished forever if he leaves Los Angeles. It will be said that he was too weak mentally to handle the pressure and he couldn’t cut it on the biggest of stages. His decision in the off season to stay or go, if the Lakers don’t trade him first, will define him forever, as far as being a basketball player is concerned. In today’s era we give players negative nick names like, Joe Fluko and Tony Oh no when the fail to live up to the hype. So, Its easy to see Dwight Howard becoming Dwight Coward in the minds of the fans if he doesn’t stand and deliver in tinsel town.