Dwight Howard‘s became NBA bad guy No. 1 after last season’s incessant complaining about his situation, where he would be traded to, his coach and just about anything else. Out of it came the nickname “Dwightmare.”
Looking back on it now as a Los Angeles Laker, Howard said the whole protracted, tried saga made him stronger.
“I think there’s a reason why everything happened the way it happened,” said Howard, who ended up traded to the Los Angeles Lakers. “So far it’s been an unbelievable experience for me. It’s like a dream come true.”
Howard endured a tumultuous final season with the Orlando Magic in 2011-12. The three-time defensive player of the year demanded a trade to the Brooklyn Nets at the beginning of the season, but the two sides couldn’t reach a deal.
I did want to go to Brooklyn. That’s a place where I told the Magic that I really wanted to go,” to Stephen A. Smith and Ryan Ruocco on ESPN NewYork 98.7 FM. “[But] I was traded to the Lakers, and I think it was a blessing in disguise.
“I thought I was going to get traded at the beginning of the year, actually; that’s when I asked for it. But everything happened for a reason. I had to go through last year to get to where I’m at today. It’s made me a stronger and better person for it. I had to go through the hell and the stormy forecast to come out to a place like this . . . and I’m thankful for it.”
Going through it, however, was tumultuous. The perception was that Howard changed his mind about his loyalties every other day, fostering an impression of unsteadiness.
“The whole year a lot of people were making up a lot of stories about ‘This deal is getting close, that deal is getting close to being done,’ or whatever, but none of those deals were ever close,” Howard said.
Eventually, despite myriad trade rumors all the way up to the trade deadline, Howard stunningly agreed to waive his early-termination option and committed to stay with Orlando through the 2012-13 season.
“I think a lot of it was people just felt like I was going back and forth with the whole thing,” Howard said. “But the business side, people don’t understand, when you’re doing business you have to be a shark. You have to demand things. If you don’t, people will run over you, and that was a lesson that I learned.
“At the end of the day, you can’t please everybody. There’s gonna be people happy about me staying, there’s gonna be people happy about me leaving. I’m over that now. I can’t control the way how people feel about me.”