I remember when I was 22 I thought I was incredibly valuable to the company I worked for. Each day I wandered in there six minutes late it was a blessing to them that I bothered to show up because there was absolutely no way that this corporation could even exist if I didn’t punch in every day. The paycheck they gave me was more of an obligation than anything I earned, because if they paid me what I was worth they’d go fucking broke.
Then I got fired. I realized that I’m a useless piece of shit like everyone else.
Such is the basketball life of Dwight Howard except he’s never had that moment of cognizance, to realize that he is ultimately replaceable and it is not the privilege of any team for him to suit up. His time in Orlando was great, sure, but he had a really awesome supporting cast and steroid fueled Hedo Turkoglu. How else to explain Stan Van Gundy trudging a team along to the NBA Finals? That in and of itself is a lesson in improbability.
We all know the to-date Howard story. A phenom and physical freak who flamed out everywhere else he landed. The summer of Dwight that landed him in LA was an unmitigated disaster and squandered Kobe’s last good years. Houston lead to first round playoff bounces. He actually made Atlanta decidedly worse. Statistically he’s put up good numbers most of his career, but this isn’t the hall of statistics, it’s the hall of fame. Having 8 good years does not a hall of famer make, and a career devoid of rings doesn’t help.
Now he’s shipped off to Washington in exchange for some magic beans and a left shoe. Quite honestly this is his best last shot at a ring. The Wizards were a really, really good team last year that lacked a lot of defense and tenacity. IF, and it’s a big IF, Howard can regain that youthful passion for defense and hustle, he could have a shot at the wide open east crown and a chance to shut down Boogie in the finals.
Just like when I stopped trying to work for others and became a piece of shit for myself.