Dwight Howard comes off genuine in Inside the NBA spot
Dwight Howard hasn’t exactly had the best career since leaving the Orlando Magic. Injuries have taken away the athleticism that once made him a dominant force in the NBA, and his personality has grated against even fans of the teams he played for. Finally, after a miserable year with the Houston Rockets, Howard’s opinion among fans was at the lowest it has ever been. The dislike for him grew into a full blown hate. As Houston imploded much of the blame for their disappointing season fell onto Howard, despite the fact that he publicly had done nothing wrong.
Howard needed something to save his reputation before it fell even further into the mud. Something that would tell fans that the reputation that had been built over the years was not true. Howard doesn’t want to be known as a coach killing diva with an obsession to make everybody like him, but rather as just a good big man with a for the most part likable personality. Lucky for him, Inside the NBA was willing to give Howard that chance.
His segment with the crew started off normal enough. Howard sat in for Shaquille O’Neal and provided some analysis for the game that had just wrapped up between the Oklahoma City Thunder and San Antonio Spurs. This is likely when many fans turned off their TV’s or rolled their eyes at even the site of Howard. The thing is though, Howard was incredible at providing a solid modern analysis on the game. Inside the NBA is no question the best sports studio show out there, but if it has one weakness it’s the aging analysis from the crew. The former players they have on staff are all known for playing in the 90’s back when basketball was quite different from it is today. The personality is there, and it’s always entertaining, but when it comes to discussing the game themselves they leave a lot to be desired.
Howard however gave something the studio show lacked, and that’s a current modern player’s look at the game. What Howard had to say was insightful, and he did what everybody always wants someone to do. He defended the modern NBA game against the old school ideals of basketball, and he absolutely killed it.
What really has viewers talking however is when Charles Barkley and Kenny Smith started asking personal questions of Howard. In an almost impromptu intervention, Chuck and Kenny started to pick at Howard’s brain and ask him questions that everybody wanted to know the answer to. Such as, why do you think people don’t like you?
This is a great question for Howard. His fall from grace is something we’ve never really seen before, and there are so many times where it felt like he just didn’t get it. Except, based a lot on what Howard says, maybe he does get it.
“People see me. They see the success I had in Orlando, and they see me now. And they probably say ‘well what’s the difference?’ And I think that I was very likable in Orlando. And the way that situation ended people felt as though, you know, I’m just this bad guy. I’m all about myself. I’m a diva. I’m stuck on being ‘Dwight Howard this famous basketball player’ so a lot of people say you know what we don’t like this guy”
Howard is right. People didn’t like this guy, and a lot of that had to do with the Orlando exit, and there was a feeling that he was obsessed with making everybody like him.
It was here that Dwight Howard began to explain, but also defend himself. He understood why people disliked him, and he could hear the criticism about not looking interested at all times on the floor. He even mentioned there were moments when he wasn’t involved that he would take himself out of the game, and said that it was on him.
After this, Kenny and Chuck gave Howard some great advice that felt very genuine. You could tell from what they were telling him that they wanted Howard to a player that is liked, and succeeds. I hope he takes some of what was given to him and thinks on it, because they gave some great advice.
Howard’s appearance on Inside the NBA was very clearly a PR move at times meant to help the negative reputation he had built, but at the same time it felt very real. Howard killed on the actual analysis stuff, and he said all the right things when Kenny and Chuck got personal. It felt believable, and for the first time ever since he left Orlando it made me want to like him again. Mission accomplished Dwight. Now go out there and back it up.