by Ryan Meehan
The Los Angeles Lakers have finally parted ways with Dwight Howard, and Kobe Bryant is no longer following Howard on Twitter. Although that sounds like the second verse of a Taylor Swift song, that is an actual series of events that took place between two grown men this weekend in the National Basketball Association. Howard agreed in principle to a deal with the Houston Rockets, and then we as sportswriters had to pretend like we’re actually interested.
My first thought when I read this was that it was a boring story. And I still think that, but my initial reaction was going to be that this was something I wouldn’t even develop an opinion about.
But then I thought about it: This is actually great news. And the reason for that is because it takes two things that I don’t like and assures me that they are now in the same place.
1) I don’t like Dwight Howard. If you know me or read these articles here on a regular basis, you’ll know that guys like that really “grind my gears” as Dubs would say. He’s a prick, and we’ll go into more detail about that here in a second.
2) The Houston Rockets don’t impress me. I’ve always thought they were a shoddy franchise, even when they are winning, which they are not currently doing frequently enough to be relevant. Even if you take Tracy McGrady out of the equation completely (which they eventually did) I will probably always rather watch moths have sex with each other on my porch than watch a Rockets game.
Let’s go back to that first one for a second. Believe it or not, there was a time when I actually kind of liked Dwight Howard. Even though I’m the guy who hates the squeaky clean comic on the bill, it was refreshing to see a clean cut guy in a league where it seems like everybody is in a race to see who can rack up the most felonies.
But somewhere during the end of Howard’s tenure in Orlando, Dwight started to show signs of the douchebaggery of which we have come to know him for. He turned into a total dick and started demanding that everything around him would have to change so that he would feel comfortable enough to take the Magic somewhere that they could eventually blow it. And then there was that time where there were a bunch of reporters surrounding Jeff Van Gundy demanding answers from him regarding their relationship, and Howard came up and in a very fake manner put his arm around Stan and assured the media that everything was fine. And then two weeks later (like a little bitch) Howard finally put his foot down and demanded Van Gundy be let go. Then, he lied about it and said that it wasn’t his doing.
Now, so did Kobe. But Kobe did it because he’s Kobe Bryant. If a guy with 5 rings says he wants Mike Brown gone and then denies it, you sort of have to at least give it up for that level of arrogance. It’s almost mind blowing, really. Dwight Howard has only been viewed as a “superstar” in this league because he’s been surrounded by a lot of guys who were very mediocre, and because of it he looked like Superman. Dwight Howard is not Kobe Bryant.
But Dwight would eventually join Kobe in the disastrous event that was the 2012-2013 Los Angeles Lakers. He had the balls to think that organization was just going to abandon their own cash cow in the glitter capital of the world and focus on him. It was the pinnacle of narcissism. Oprah Winfrey must have been standing there in awe the whole time. Howard served up plenty of eye rolling soundbites that led the rest of us sane planet occupiers to continually be asking our televisions “Is he fucking serious right now??”
And finally he would get his wish, as he is now “in a better place”. And when they told you that about your grandparents, you didn’t buy it then so you can only imagine how little you’re buying it now. He landed in Houston, where he’ll be under the direction of Kevin McHale whom Dubs is a huge fan of.
The Houston Rockets would have Kevin McHale as a head coach. It makes perfect sense. They’ve always been in the shadows of the other teams in the West, much in the same way that McHale was (and still is) in the shadows of the players on all those great Celtic teams. I am 100% convinced that none of his current involvement with the Rockets has anything to do wish his passion for basketball. You don’t have to catch the guy urinating on Dennis Johnson’s grave to realize that knowing Bird had a stint with the Pacers and Ainge is an exec for the Celts was enough to once again make McHale want to be more than the disgraced exoskeleton of a human being he is.
Even back in the day when the franchise was good, it still had all sorts of things I didn’t like. I wasn’t a fan of Ralph Sampson, I thought Hakeem Olajuwon was a goon, and freaking Dikembe Mutumbo was still on their roster in 2009. And they seem to have a knack for signing guys for global appeal. That’s what they did with Yao Ming, and there is an even more recent example. Remember when Jeremy Lin was being shopped around by the Knicks like he was going to be the next big thing if he was wearing anything other than a Knicks uniform? How’s that $30 million hole in your pocket treating you? A lot like 3 rebounds per game, I would guess. My point here is that the Rockets seem to have a bit of a fetish for guys that eat with chopsticks. You know who didn’t buy that Jeremy Lin was worth all that money? The real ballers in the league. Tyson Chandler had to be laughing his ass off at this whole deal. You show me a guy that grew up on the streets dirt poor and made it all the way to the big show who thinks that Jeremy Lin could hang in those ballyards, and I’ll show you an Asian that doesn’t own a fucking iPhone and a pasty white 57 year old accountant that sings “Inner City Blues” and actually means it.
So it’s only fitting that McHale would be in charge of this whole mess, and if the Rockets tank this upcoming season, he can just always throw games to get more lottery balls just like he did when he was in charge of the Minnesota Timberwolves. Dwight Howard is the clown prince of showing up to scenarios like this, only this time it will be different. This time, since it’s the Rockets, no one will care. And they shouldn’t, because nobody should be listening to a goddamn word that’s coming out of his mouth anyway.
That’s why this is a match made in heaven. It’s great news, and we should all be thrilled. This is like Celine Dion agreeing to never leave Canada and torture our eardrums with songs about infertility struggles. It would be like the Internal Revenue Service saying “That’s fine, we’re not going to be collecting any money from you anymore…” It would be like Vin Diesel and the rest of the cast of those “Fast and the Furious” movies spending the rest of their lives in a maximum security prison where everyone has to wear leotards and ball gags.
Trust me you guys, this is AWESOME news for us. Dwight Howard will do to Houston what Houston did to the Astrodome: Leave it there to die. He’ll complain and bitch and moan about not being the center of attention, and then go out and still miss half of the free throws he shoots. The Rockets will lose in the first round as long as he’s down there, and then he’ll walk away from that situation selling us on the idea that the only reason things didn’t go well is because they didn’t surround him with the talent to succeed. Bitch, please…
That’s this is so perfect – Dwight Howard might be the next Kevin McHale. He might be the guy who never quite made as much of a name for himself as he would like to believe that ends up coaching a team like the Rockets in his fifties. Could you imagine him barking orders to the third generation of Curry in 2034? I would assume by then most of those kids would know better, which is a crazy thing to even be assuming that a guy like Howard wouldn’t lead us to believe he could be trusted in that position. What does that mean? It means that there is an entire generation of kids who haven’t even been aborted yet that won’t ever live to disrespect Dwight Howard. Which is a beautiful thing, and that’s exactly what this whole thing is.