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One Goofy in Orlando is Enough

2012 April 17

• dEDGE Post Scriptum •

Spring Break in Orlando was a welcome respite from the mundane tasks of everyday life. Even more memorable was time spent with family, away from the pressures of school and work and the countless activities that occupy every waking minute. It also provided me with a new perspective had I not grown up in Los Angeles rooting for the purple and gold. The events in recent weeks surrounding Dwight Howard and the Orlando Magic had reached comic proportions as each side was now calling the other out. To make matters even worse, the press was invited, the stage was the Magic practice facility, and the stars were obliging and willing with their inflammatory comments.

Orlando Magic fans have not had much to cheer about recently. But at least the Magic Dancers have kept their professionalism and continue to perform, unlike others in the organization. ©2012 lakers-EDGE.

Stan Van Gundy had disclosed to an eager press corps that management informed him of D12 wanting him fired and out as coach of the Magic. Moments later, a jovial Howard chummed over to SVG and put his arm around the smiling coach, unaware of the bombshell that had just exploded seconds earlier. Van Gundy ho-hummed his way out of the assembled media circle, leaving Howard fully ensconced in the quickly escalating inferno. Obviously, Howard denied any wrong-doing or knowledge of said events as he tried to pry himself from under the carriage of the Magic bus.

Dwight Howard aka Clark Kent was a late scratch against the Detroit Pistons with back problems. Things can only get worse after news broke of Howard wanting Stan Van Gundy out as coach of the Magic. ©2012 lakers-EDGE.

It was reported that Orlando ownership had given Howard the power to have Van Gundy and GM Otis Smith fired if he agreed to stay with the team. No one has come out and publicly stated that this was not the case. Instead, SVG and D12 have called a cease-fire with Van Gundy the lame duck coach to finish out the season. Howard has since been sidelined with a herniated disk and is thought to be lost for the regular season. His status for the playoffs is unknown at this time, but one thing is for sure. Stan Van Gundy will not be returning as head coach next season.

This drama unfolds just as the Los Angeles Lakers are finally beginning to play to peak form, prepping themselves for the upcoming playoffs even as Kobe Bryant continues to recover from a shin injury. It was only weeks earlier when I, along with countless other Laker fans were imploring Mitch Kupchak to pull the plug on the Andrew Bynum experiment and make the trade for Superman. Since that time, Bynum has dominated headlines for his spectacular play as well as his bouts with immaturity. All Howard has done in that time was become an even larger distraction in an already disappointing season. It appears that Howard has fractured both the locker room and the front office, leaving fissures so wide, that any healing is irreparable.

Glen Davis goes up for a midrange jumper as the Orlando Magic, without Dwight Howard, easily beat the starless Detroit Pistons. ©2012 lakers-EDGE.

I had thought it would be a good idea to take in an Orlando Magic game since we would be there during Spring Break. I had also thought it would be a great opportunity for my father-in-law and I to escape the wives and kids for a few hours and grab a couple of beers while soaking up some NBA action. I purchased the tickets online and dished out a fair amount for a pair of center court seats. I was pleasantly surprised when I learned the seats were better than advertised. There are two rows of courtside seats that surround Amway Arena. A narrow walkway separates these ultra-premium seats from the rest of the arena seating. We were literally 3-rows up from that walkway! Those same seats at Staples Center would have cost a small fortune including the keys to your Maybach and the deed to your house as collateral.

My Father-in-Law (burgundy jacket right behind Ryan Anderson) and I (obscured by his ass) enjoyed great seats, a great fan experience and a crappy game void of any superstars. ©2012 NBAE (Photo by Fernando Medina/NBAE via Getty Images). All rights reserved.

We were disappointed when we learned that Howard had sat out a couple of games the previous week. Our intent was to see Superman in action, up close and in person. I wanted to judge for myself what the Lakers had missed out on by not trading him for Bynum. Then news broke of the SVG brouhaha and suddenly we weren’t sure if anyone would show up for the game. Ultimately, Howard sat out the game with back problems and Van Gundy patrolled the sidelines as Dead Man walking. The game itself was a 30-point blow-out, complete with JJ Reddick and Jason Richardson bombing away from outside as Detroit looked like Detroit (except when they play the Lakers).

The game experience was pleasant enough, and inclusive in the Superstar package that these tickets fell under, was unlimited access to the Mercedes Benz Star Lounge where food and drink were abundant and FREE. This included a buffet dinner, beer and wine, desserts at halftime, and after-game snacks. In-seat service by pretty waitresses was also available although my stomach couldn’t hold another bite. Air Stuff and Air Stuff Jr. were an entertaining duo on the court, as were the lovely Magic Dancers and AirTran Flight Crew. I had come for a glimpse at Dwight Howard and instead I got Clark Kent dressed in civilian clothes.

Air Stuff and Air Stuff Jr. provided more entertainment than the game itself. ©2012 lakers-EDGE

Unfortunately, I was unable to make any assessment between D12 and Drew. But Howard has made Lebron James’ “Announcement” a thing of the past, replacing the scorn left for the chosen one as mere baggage from a forgotten season. Orlando’s next steps in the off-season will be met with increased scrutiny and mistrust after this latest Howard fiasco. D12 has also quickly deteriorated from the player everyone wants, to the one no one can trust. Aside from our week spent with Disney, there is nothing magical left in Orlando.

©2012 lakers-EDGE

6 Responses
  1. Purple_Reign permalink
    April 20, 2012

    Howard is having surgery on his back in LA today. Hmm… is there any chance of a blockbuster trade over the summer while he’s rehabbing… just sayin’…

    • STEVE-O permalink*
      April 20, 2012

      The marching orders were loud and clear. Dwight Howard’s surgery has provided Orlando with plenty of time to replace Stan Van Gundy. D12 has essentially removed himself from any association with the franchise until it’s safe for him to reappear.

  2. STEVE-O permalink*
    April 19, 2012

    The mess in Orlando continues to spiral out-of-control… The latest to come out of Disney World is that D12 called owner DeVoss and said that he will no longer play for Van Gundy. If this is true, who would want to coach this guy? He’s holding all of the cards, the marbles and the keys to the Magic organization. Was sacrificing your entire franchise just so you wouldn’t be called the second Orlando owner who lost its superstar worth it?

  3. Lakers4Life permalink
    April 17, 2012

    I still think D12 would be a good fit with the Lakers. The culture in the Laker organization might be all that’s needed to make Howard want to move to LA.

  4. Lake_Show permalink
    April 17, 2012

    To think we were all clamoring for this guy. Bynum has established himself as the force in the West. Who needs a whiny crybaby? Oh wait a minute, we already have one…

  5. Mike_R permalink
    April 17, 2012

    Orlando is a mess. Van Gundy is as good as gone and Howard will flee town as soon as next season is done.

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