With Dwight Howard returning to Orlando tonight, it’s expected to be a loud and rambunctious reception from a jilted fan base. Howard toyed with the franchise that drafted him, bolted for Tinseltown, and hurt the feelings of many in between. Tonight is arguably the most anticipated game of the year.
Where does it rank among the top 10 returns in NBA history?
10. Patrick Ewing returns to New York
After spending 15 years with New York, Patrick Ewing returned to Madison Square Garden as a member of the Seattle Supersonics. He led the Knicks twice to the Conference Finals and once to the Finals in 1994. He was also on the Eastern Conference Champion squad of 1999, but was injured, thus spawning the birth of the Ewing Theory.
9. Chris Bosh returns to Toronto
Chris Bosh was the face of the franchise. In fact, he will always be the face of the franchise. While his decision to sign with Miami may not have been as reviled as his teammate’s “decision”, the impact was just as painful for all basketball fans north of the border. As a former employee of the Raptors, I remember wanting to sneak into the ACC just to say I was there!
8. Carmelo Anthony returns to Denver
Not since the days of Alex English were the Denver Nuggets ever seen as anything more than a lottery team (with apologies to Dikembe Mutombo). That all changed when the Pistons famously selected Darko Milicic, leaving ‘Melo for Denver. Anthony put Denver on the map and led them to multiple playoff trips.
7. Steve Nash returns to Phoenix
Steve Nash accomplished what no other Canadian had ever come close to – being awarded the trophy for MVP. He did it twice while playing for the Suns. The franchise loved him so much that they traded him to a Finals contender, even though they reside in the same division!
6. Allen Iverson returns to Philadelphia