“It’s been very tough for me the past couple of months to make a decision. I’m going back and forth, and it’s not as easy as what people think. It’s very hard. You’re talking about a career-changing event, and most people wouldn’t see that. You know, I’m going back and forth and one of the biggest reasons is because I’m too loyal. I’ve always believed that loyalty is before anything.”
— Dwight Howard
During his press conference announcing he had waived his early termination option
March 15, 2012
The folks at adidas have created a Dwight Howard T-shirt with the word “LOYALTY” emblazoned across the front, above the Orlando Magic logo.
I’m told that it’s been for sale since shortly after Howard waived his early-termination option on March 15.
You can buy it for $21.99.
To comedians, however, the T-shirt might be priceless.
Whether Howard waived his early-termination option on March 15 because he was “too loyal,” as he said at the time, is a matter for debate. Many people believe that the only reason he voided his opt-out clause was the Magic threatened to trade him to a franchise he didn’t like, perhaps the Los Angeles Lakers or the Houston Rockets.
Still others think he showed no loyalty to his teammates when, after he underwent surgery to repair a herniated disk on April 20, he didn’t attend any of the Magic’s playoff games, choosing instead to rehab his back in the Los Angeles area.
Of course, Howard and his agent would retort that loyalty runs both ways: that the franchise, especially CEO Alex Martins, could have said something — anything — to defend Howard when Stan Van Gundy, in response to a direct question, said in early April that he knew Howard wanted him fired because the “top” of the team’s front office told him so.
And, remember this: Howard has every right after his contract ends following the 2012-13 season to determine where he will work.
Howard has kept mum publicly on his plans for the future . Meanwhile, rumors swirl that he wants a trade to the Brooklyn Nets.
But the Magic will attempt one more time to retain the All-NBA center. Otis Smith’s eventual replacement will have the chance to speak with Howard and attempt to sell Howard on a long-term vision for the team.
If Howard balks, then it seems team officials are resigned to trading the superstar before the beginning of the 2012-13 season.
In the meantime, how popular do you think these LOYALTY T-shirts will be?Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times