Dwight Howard has rescued us from our summer slumbers. Gone, sadly, are the summer glory days of yesteryear when Brett Favre would consume our thoughts through July and August about whether he would come back and play another NFL season. Gone, sadly, is the Tim Tebow epic struggle to be the starting quarterback of the Jets that obsessed the world last summer. They traded him. Now, sadly, his situation has transmogrified. Unlike when he was with the Jets when it seemed plausible he could beat out the Butt-Fumble Boy, Mark Sanchize, for the starting QB role, there is no chance of that on his new team, the New England Patriots. Tom Brady is God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit on that team. Tebow, while known for his prodigious religious beliefs, is a mere disciple in this Holy Kingdom.
But this summer we get to worship Dwight the Almighty. I feel sorry for the guy. He's only set to make $120 million over the four or five years if he stays with the Lakers. But he's not happy with that. It's understandable; he wants the ball more and Kobe won't give it to him. He wants to shoot more and be the main attraction. He envisions himself as the altar at which the whole team and city of Los Angeles worships. It's understandable to want to be a star. Everybody wants that. Can't fault him for being normal, a pleasure of the flesh fellow. Everybody wants $120 million so they can retire in peace and quiet and not have to work after playing a few more years of basketball.
It's such a complicated game and way to make a living. We know.
Dwight doesn't like the basketball system his coach Mike Dantoni uses. It doesn't work for him. Because of this, he wants more than $120 million and a luscious living standard in one of America's most exciting and beautiful cities. That's not enough. Makes sense. Sounds like a real drag all those hassles playing basketball and having to get along with teammates and coaches and deal with some fans criticizing him.
It makes sense he's looking around for a better life where all his woes can be eradicated. With the Houston Rockets and Dallas Mavericks, two teams he's been listening to offers for his services from these past two weeks, he would get what he really needs: more attention, more touches on the offensive end, a system that he likes better, and no Kobe. He would be the center of attention.
I hope Dwight interviews with every team in the league this summer and this drags on until opening day of the NFL season. We could all do Excel spreadsheets of the offers he receives and pass them around on email, putting odds on which teams are more likely to be the beneficiaries of his spectacular services. The spreadsheet could have columns about his salary offers, bonus incentives, guaranteed number of offensive touches per quarter and game, contractually signed assurances that he would be the team's one and only star. The whole chart would be about Dwight and what he wants and what he has to choose from among so many tough life choices.
In fact, it would be even more enriching for us if he could get involved in doing his own spreadsheet and share it with the country for all of us to think about and admire, to see all the opportunities he has. Instead of practicing his offensive moves and ability to score from inside and shoot free throws-which he really doesn't do very well for $120 million-he could refine his Excel spreadsheet skills.
The fact is he doesn't need that much talent and doesn't have as much as people think he does. But that doesn't' matter. He jumps high and blocks lots of shots and stands 7 feet tall. Who needs to practice shooting when you're born with that set of tools? Oh, wait a minute, maybe that's the reason the offense in Los Angeles doesn't run through him because he's, well, not that good of an offensive player and Kobe is. Kobe practices his shot constantly; Dwight doesn't' have time for that. If he were that good at scoring around the basket, it seems likely he would be the center of the Laker basketball world. But that's not his fault. It's Dantoni's fault and Kobe's fault and the San Andreas Fault. Los Angeles just doesn't get him, doesn't want him enough given how important he is. He's complicated and needs to be understood better. He wants more from life than the average person. And he deserves it because he is special and has a right to his happiness.