Jan 20, 2012; Orlando, FL, USA; Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard (12) and Los Angeles Lakers center Andrew Bynum (17) wait for the play to develop during the first quarter at Amway Center. Mandatory Credit: Douglas Jones-US PRESSWIRE

13 Feet & Eleven Inches of Diva

Andrew Bynum and Dwight Howard are two young gentlemen who are the talk of the NBA. Sure, they are both terrific players. Unfortunately for them, the talk is about their attitudes. Not their play on the court.

Bynum was the 10th overall pick in the 2005 draft. One of the last crop of kids to go straight from High School right to the NBA. Early in Bynum’s career he was not highly thought of by his teammates or fans of the Lakers. At one point, rumors were circulating that Jelly Bean Jr. wanted him traded. Luckily for him, Bynum had a few fans in the front office who wanted to see him develop.

Fast forward 6 years and now Andrew is considered one of the 2 top centers in the league, which is not saying much considering there are only 4 true centers left in the league, along with Dwight Howard. More recently Bynum has made headlines with his “differences” with head coach Mike Brown.

Among the disagreements between player and coach are the belief by one, that number 17 should not be hoisting 3 pointers. While the other, after being benched, publicly stated that it will indeed happen again. Because we all know working on your perimeter offense DURING the regular season schedule is always a good idea.

Even more recent, was for the second time in one season, Andy Bynum got kicked out of a contest for filling his stat sheet with 2 technical fouls in one game. There is some more embarrassment that goes along with one of the technicals though. Bynum was blocked, then barely fouled by Samuel “Skeleton Bones” Dalembert which made Bynum so furious he almost started a fight. We all know fighting a man because, heavens forbid, he tried to block your shot is perfectly normal.

Bynum is on pace for his best season as a pro. He has probably become the Lakers’ second best player. Kobe even defends the man on a personal level. At the same time, Andrew Bynum is making a strong case for lead head case of the LA Lakers, quickly catching up to Metta World Peace. Career goals for Bynum slowly being accomplished one childish act at a time.

Then there is Dwight Howard. Perhaps the most overrated player in the entire National Basketball Association. With an offensive game that consists of put-backs and dunks, the Orlando Magic has made the play for Howard the General Manager. Just to keep the man in a Magic uniform, they are “reportedly” willing to fire Stan Van Gundy at the request of Dwight.This might be the single most humorous thing to come out of Orlando since Shaq’s movie career.

Sure, the NBA is a “Star” driven league. Plenty of HOF players are coach killers. Magic killed Westhead, Jordan killed Doug Collins. But if for one second anyone thinks Howard is Magic or Jordan you need to hold on a second.

Dwight is a very good to almost great level of player. The problem with him is what it has always been. He should already be great. His potential should have been reached by now. Of course you can make the argument that he has not reached said potential because of coaching, but for the love of Sam Cassell, the big man coach in Orlando is Patrick Ewing!

A few days ago, Van Gundy went public with information provided to him by upper management, that Howard wanted him fired. A few seconds later a grinning, not yet informed, Howard stood next to his coach all smiles. The two made some comments on how they were just focused on beating Melo and the Knicks. Then an obviously frustrated Stan Van told reporters to ask the rest of the questions to Howard. First question out of their mouths were the Van Gundy comments. Dwight looking surprisingly stunned wanted to know who were Stan’s sources.

Flashing a million dollar smile only to be caught in an awkward situation is likely not fun. Howard’s reaction showed it is not. Instead of actually answering the question he would in turn just reflect some of his own back.

Over the last year Howard and his impending, albeit now delayed, free agency has put a strain on everything. From the Orlando Magic, their fans, to you, to me, and most importantly(To him) Howard’s image. Coming into the league Howard was thought of as a character person, boy how 7 years of fame and fortune has turned a man.

I don’t know who is to blame in Orlando. If it is the owners, for naively thinking giving into a stars demands, is the best way to keep them. Is it Stan Van Gundy, trying to take a stand against a star player. Also making his own mistakes along the way publically calling out players. Who ironically, looks like he is going to be a coach scorned at his second straight coaching stop. Not for his coaching abilities, but managements “personal interests”.

Except chances are, that it is Dwight Howard. A man who is so worried about what people think about him. Yet his actions show him to be a selfish man. Maybe the whole worrying about his image is just another selfish aspect of his personality.Oh, Lebron, I just got a text from Howard for you. It reads “Your Welcome”

Tags: Dwight Howard Joe Nardone NBA Orlando Magic Stan Van Gundy

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