Wednesday night, Houston Rockets center Dwight Howard returned to Orlando just in time for the team’s 25th-anniversary celebration. The Magic played a tribute video to Howard in between the first and second quarters which was not well received by the fans in attendance, and understandably so.
The phrase “Too soon?” comes immediately to mind.
Still, though, Howard was nice enough to explain that he understands why the fans in Orlando are still so bitter toward him, and believes that in time those feelings will go away.
“I think people remember all the bad things that happen,” Howard said. “They forget all the good things that happen. There’s a lot of great moments that happened here in Orlando.
“Last year, it was fresh for a lot of the Magic fans. They were upset with how things went down. At the end of the day, I think time heals all wounds. Even though it’s only been a year, I’ve forgiven the people I needed to forgive and hopefully the fans will forgive me for how the situation ended. My love for this city will never change.
“I played here. People are upset I left so they’re going to boo. They’re going to let their frustrations out. That’s totally understandable. I appreciate all the fans that did cheer. The reason I left had nothing to do with the fans. I’ll always been grateful to the people that supported me from day one.”
The thing is, Howard is correct. While the break up was messy, this is a player that at one time took the team back to the NBA Finals nearly single-handedly.
Just how long it’ll take the fans to remember those good times, though, remains to be seen.