Dwight Howard recently came out and expressed his displeasure with the Orlando Magic’s choice to allow forward Tobias Harris to don jersey No. 12. Howard said that “despite whatever happened…a lot of things…(were) special down there.”
That’s hard to deny.
Howard guided the Magic to their first Finals win in franchise history and only the second NBA Finals appearance. He won three Defensive Player of the Year awards, and no other Magic player in franchise history has nabbed even one. Howard’s penchant for posting 20/20 games made him the most dominant at his position and the Magic were a relevant team mostly because of his defensive presence.
There is all that, and then there is the fact that he held the franchise hostage essentially for two seasons, waiving his ETO clause and then demanding a trade…
There is the “Dwightmare,” the mutiny of a coach and GM, and essentially sending the Magic back to ground zero of a rebuild.
The way Howard’s legacy unravelled due to his actions is what allows teams to move on. It’s why fans like seeing Harris in No. 12, and no one in the fan base really batted an eyelash at Howard losing his number, if he has any claim to it at all.
The Magic have not retired a single jersey, save the mock enshrinement of No. 6 for the fans. Shaq didn’t get his jersey retired in Orlando, and Howard most likely never will either. That means the new guy gets it, and that guy is Harris.
There will always be a place for every great Magic player in the heart of fans, but that doesn’t warrant a place-holder on a jersey that will never be retired in Orlando anyway. There’s no merit to his whines about it, and Howard would be better left to focus on making No. 12 a jersey to rise in Houston.