Oakley was doing an ESPN Radio interview when he blasted the Orlando Magic’s former franchise center center for the petulant behavior that ultimately paved the way for his trade to the Los Angeles Lakers earlier this month.
“A lot of guys cry in the league these days,” Oakley said. “I try not to get caught up in that. The management in Orlando let him get away with it. Most times, they put kids in timeout. They never put him in timeout. He just kept crying and got his way. Now he’s in LA with Kobe, so they got a chance win a couple of championships in the next two or three years.
“They could have traded him and got something better for him last year. I think they just tried to play along. They just pleased him anyway they could, but he never did anything to please them.”
Howard has always relished his goofy shtick since entering the league right of Southwest Atlanta Christian Academy as the No. 1 overall pick of the 2004 NBA Draft, but there was nothing amusing about his antics last season amid trade demands, confrontations with his coach, a press conference where he professed his so-called “loyalty,” more trade demands and season-ending back surgery before hiding out in Los Angeles.
“Dwightmare” ultimately cost Orlando coach Stan Van Gundy his job.
Oakley, who had been out front in calling out the 6-foot-11 Howard for his immaturity and questionable commitment to the game, pulled no punches in his take of the NBA’s most dominant big man.
“Dwight Howard is embarrassing Patrick [Ewing]” Oakley said of his former Hall of Fame teammate and former Magic assistant coach. “He doesn’t have a ball player’s mind. And they tell me he is one of the best centers in the game. He wouldn’t even have made the league 10 years ago. He would be on the bench. They say he won’t listen. Dwight won’t listen.
“How can you not listen to Patrick Ewing?’