Yo, this is Dwight. I can't take your call right now, but leave a message at the tone and I'll get back to you.
This is an article from the July 23, 2012 issue
The great Dwight Howard! What's up, baby? It's LeBron. You know, LeBron James of the NBA champion Heat. Dang, I love saying that. Screening your calls, huh? I get it. I hear the Magic G.M. has been hitting you daily, trying to get you to change your mind—again—about wanting to be traded. But you better call me back quick or I'm starting a rumor that you're demanding to go to Phoenix. Of the WNBA. Just joking, big fella; I know you're busy. You're probably looking for a new crib in Brooklyn right now. I mean, Houston. Or is it L.A.? Wait, Atlanta? Shoot, I can't keep track of who your next team is supposed to be.
Anyway, I've been meaning to holla at you just to say thanks, but I've been a little busy myself, winning the title (did I mention that I was MVP of the Finals?) and partying my headband off. Before I flew over here to London for the Olympics, I also had to address all my haters, which took a while. It's time-consuming to send an e-mail to every fan, writer and talking head who ever bashed me, with HOW DO YOU LIKE ME NOW? in the subject line and a photo attached of me giving them the finger—the championship-ring finger. Kidding. I didn't really do that. Wanted to, though. Still might.
But I'm getting off track. I'm really calling to thank you for what you did for me—or for my image, to be exact. Ever since I announced the Decision that I was leaving Cleveland and taking my talents to South Beach a couple of years ago, then followed it up by predicting multiple championships before we had even played a game, I've been the biggest villain in the NBA. People saw me as self-centered, spoiled, disloyal and incredibly annoying. What I really needed to take the pressure off me—besides finally leading my team to that title I may have mentioned—was for some other player to be even more self-centered, spoiled, disloyal and incredibly annoying. That someone was you, Dwight. You took over the role as if you were born to play it. You have out-LeBron'd LeBron, my brother, and I appreciate it.
That is why you've botched this whole play to get out of Orlando so badly, right? To make me look good by comparison? I mean, nobody would make this big a mess of things unless it was intentional. I didn't realize what you were doing when you started going through the normal stages of a superstar getting ready to leave town. First, you laughed off the speculation, saying you were happy in Orlando. Then, you quietly let the Magic know you wanted to be traded or you might opt out of your contract. All standard operating procedure.
But then you took it to a prima donna level that none of us—not me, not Melo, not CP3—ever reached. Remember back in April, when you interrupted a press conference to put your arm around your coach, Stan Van Gundy, and deny rumors that you had asked the team to fire him? You even asked the reporters who their source was, not realizing that it was Van Gundy himself who had confirmed those rumors moments earlier. That's when I knew what you were up to. Not many guys would be willing to make themselves look like such a phony for a friend.
Still, even I was surprised when you took back your trade demand in March and said you wouldn't opt out of your contract after last season. If you had just become a free agent when you had the chance, this whole fiasco would be over by now. But then you reversed yourself again and re-requested a trade to Brooklyn. I even read some reports that you considered trying to opt out of your decision to opt in and re--opt out instead. Or something. The whole thing makes me dizzy. People wondered what you were trying to do, but I knew. You were taking their minds off me. When I think about your sacrifice, I get choked up, Dwight. And you know how I hate to use the word choked.
Now, you've alienated just about everyone. Nets fans are mad at you because you could have signed with Brooklyn as a free agent. Lakers fans are mad because you don't seem to want to go west. And Orlando fans, well, let's put it this way: People in Cleveland burned my jersey after I left, but folks in Orlando will burn yours if you stay. Everyone else doesn't care where you go anymore. They just want you to go away.
I've been meaning to give you something as a token of my appreciation for taking my place as Public Enemy No. 1, Dwight. I was thinking about a set of luggage, because one way or another you're going to need it soon. I'll wait to have your new team's logo put on—but don't worry, I'll make it the kind you can easily peel off and replace. Anyway, sorry for the long message. I'll just leave you with this: No matter how big a jackass someone appears to be, a bigger one always comes along. You're proof of that, Dwight. Wait, that didn't come out right. What I meant was ...
Beep. Mailbox is now full.