March 10, 2013; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Lakers center Dwight Howard (12) during a stoppage in play against the Chicago Bulls during the second half at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Dwight Howard Apologizes To Orlando: It's Too Little, Too Late

In an exclusive interview with Sam Amick of USA Today, current Los Angeles Lakers center Dwight Howard apologized to his former team, the Orlando Magic, for his actions, attitude and demeanor as it relates to his leaving.

“In Orlando, I handled a lot of stuff the wrong way,” Howard told the USA Today from his home. “If any of those people in Orlando are upset with how I did it, I apologize for the way I handled it and the way it was handled in the media.

“I really just got caught up in wanting to please everybody else. I really love that city. That was the hardest thing to do was to leave that city because I basically grew up there. That was my whole life. Orlando was it. I did not want to leave all that behind — the city, just everything about it. The fans. But I wanted a change for my life. I just felt like there was something else out there for me.”

Howard insists that he has learned a lot since then, and has not only matured as a basketball player, but as a man as well.

“There are a lot of things about me that have changed,” said Howard. “I’m becoming a better man because of the stuff that has happened to me this last year and a half. Everybody goes through stuff like this. Even though I’m going through it where everybody in the world can see it, I’m happy that it’s happening.

“If it didn’t happen, I’d be stuck in my ways. I would never change, and then it would be a lot worse. For all this stuff to happen, for me to sit back and see and evaluate myself and what I could’ve done better and realize that I needed to make a change, I’m getting better. I’m growing up. I’m maturing.”

The Los Angeles Lakers visit Orlando for the first time this season tomorrow night.

I’m sorry, but this apology just smells of desperation. It’s ironic it comes on the heels of Howard returning to the city that made him a star in the first place. The timing leads me to believe that this isn’t at all sincere, in my opinion.

Everyone and their grandma knows that Dwight is going to be booed out of the Amway Center tomorrow, and rightfully so. His constant flip-flopping on whether or not he was going to stay, to his harsh (apparently) words towards his former teammates have rubbed many fans of the Orlando Magic, including management, coaches and players alike the wrong way.

He doesn’t want to be the bad guy. He wants to be beloved. It’s a need of his. He wanted out of Orlando, but he didn’t want anyone to hate him on his way out.

Well, that obviously didn’t happen.

The Lakers are primed and ready to make that final push for a spot in the Western Conference playoffs, while the Magic find themselves in a rebuilding mode with a record that only surpasses the Charlotte Bobcats in the East.

Dwight Howard is going into public relations and representing himself. He said the right things. I don’t have a problem with what he said. I do have a problem though with when he’s saying it.

If he truly wanted to give Orlando a sincere apology, then he should have done so weeks after leaving. Saying you’re sorry just days before you play the Magic in their arena doesn’t work for me.

I hope I’m wrong about Howard. His actions have spoken louder than his words in recent memory, which makes me tend to mute things of this nature in my mind.

The rest of the basketball world may let bygones be bygones and forgive Dwight for his “heel demeanor” over the past year or so.

The Orlando Magic never will. I’d bet the house on it.

Chris Walder is the Editor of Sir Charles in Charge. You may follow him on Twitter at @WalderSports

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Tags: Dwight Howard Los Angeles Lakers Orlando Magic

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