That performance now defines Howard in a negative way. In the years since, he has failed to impact the NBA on the court in the same way he did that night in Orlando. Not one of his teams has won a playoff series in the last three years. He hasn't acted like the star he can be so much as he has behaved like an actor who hopes to be a star.
Instead there are always these anonymously sourced stories -- which are not fabricated, which come from him and his camp -- about how he wants another coach, first in Orlando and now in Los Angeles. Why does he enable such negative issues to define him?
So much is at stake here, and it has much less to do with the decision he makes this week in public. It will have everything to do with the resolve he shows privately. It is not the shirt that defines the man.