As a member of the Orlando Magic, Howard’s uncertain future led to tension between teammates and the franchise was left in a troubling situation. Howard was the leader of the mediocre Orlando squad and he had to do his best to perform on the court and deal with the media.
However, Jameer Nelson, Howard’s former teammate, did not like the way the center handled his business in front of a camera. Nelson spoke to the Orlando Sentinel and fired back at the big man.
Howard told KCAL-TV in L.A. recently that “my team in Orlando was a team full of people who nobody wanted, and I was the leader and I led that team with a smile on my face.”
“At some point, when are you [Dwight] gonna as a man, when are you going to take ownership and stay out of the media in a professional manner?” Nelson told the Sentinel after Wednesday’s shooatround in Miami.
“I would be less of a man to comment on certain things that people comment on about me and my teammates. We had a great run as a group, as core guys, and he was a part of it (reaching the 2009 Finals) and for him to say things about anybody in a negative manner, that’s up to him.
“That’s his opinion. If that’s how he feels, that’s how he feels.”
With Howard no longer on the Magic, Orlando is near the bottom of the Eastern Conference and the front office is hoping its young assets can bring the franchise back to the post season. Everyone knew the Magic would struggle to win games if Howard left, but no one expected the Lakers to be fighting for a playoff spot this late into the season.
Howard did not leave the city of Orlando on the right terms and it is safe to say many people in the area and on the Magic roster will have trouble forgiving the center.
The Lakers’ center will make his lone trip to Orlando on March 12th.