Tuck: Magic And Howard Both Wrong About #12
We've brought up the subject of the Orlando Magic and retiring numbers before. The team has yet to hang a player's number from the rafters. The Magic have had a number of great players play for them, a few of which will one day be in the Hall of Fame. Problem is, there is a catch with each of them.
Shaq left after only 4 years. Grant Hill barely played in his 7 seasons. T-Mac was traded away on poor terms. Penny was a great player, but things didn't end well. Anyone else that has been brought up, I just don't think are good enough to have their jerseys retired. And yes, I understand not every retired number belongs to an all-time great...I just think that if the player isn't an all-timer, then they better have won, and won a lot. More specifically won a championship, or more than one.
Dwight Howard, by most any measure, is the greatest player in team history. Of course, his divorce from the team complicates things.
Dwight Howard told the Orlando Sentinel's Josh Robbins,"I just think that despite whatever happened, there was a lot of things that I did and that we did as a team, and that number was special down there," Howard said. "And I was a little bit upset about that."
I do not have an issue with the team deciding whatever they want as far as who to honor. Right now, it would feel inappropriate to pay respect to Dwight Howard because of how things ended. But, I don't think the Magic should have given away the #12 Dwight Howard made famous less than a season after he left.
Normally there is a cooling off period. Players leave all the time the place they starred. Sometimes it's their choice. Sometimes it's the team's choice. But if the player was great, you typically don't give that number away for a few years.
Doing just that, makes the Orlando Magic seem like a jilted lover who went out, got drunk, keyed their ex's car, and found a new boyfriend, anyone, to replace him. It's a poor and weak attempt at revenge/moving on.
When you're angry you make decisions you regret. The Magic would have been better served letting #12 go unworn for a few years before deciding if they'd consider retiring it. If at that point, they felt it would never be an option, then fine, move on. You may have noticed nobody has worn #23 yet in Cleveland since LeBron James left. That's how it should be.
I understand why Dwight would be disappointed, but I also think he should know that it isn't his decision, and he lost control over his fate in Orlando's history when he chose to leave the way he did.
Basically, don't complain about it, or seem to complain about it Dwight. You made your bed, deal with it.