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The vicious cycle of Dwight Howard

Despite his enormous talent, star center's attitude makes him a liability
06/27/2013 4:13 PM ET
By Doug Williams

Dwight Howard has emerged as one of the NBA's biggest enigmas.(AP)
If you want to make sure a child isn't spoiled, usually the best thing to do is experiment by not giving them what they want.

This is what NBA general managers should be doing with Dwight Howard. Now, because the NBA today is a star-driven league and its popularity is skyrocketing as a result, Howard has possessed the ability to demand whatever he wants. He had Stan Van Gundy fired before demanding his way out of Orlando. And after one disappointing season as a Laker, it appears we're headed in the same direction this offseason.

Just one day after the Lakers posted a Dwight Howard "STAY" billboard on the Staples Center, Chris Broussard reported that Howard is unlikely to return to Los Angeles next season. There are apparently three reasons for this: First, he doesn't like playing for coach Mike D'Antoni. Secondly, he would rather HE be the star on the team instead of taking a back seat to somebody like Kobe Bryant. And third, sources are now saying, that it may be also because of the fans in LA.

At this point, Howard doesn't even care if people think he's selfish. He's so used to getting what he wants that he probably figures at this point he might as well demand it once again. Howard is the perfect representation, sadly, of my generation. He expects everything to be handed to him without having to work for it. He has an insurmountable sense of entitlement.

It's very clear that he's a dominant big man in the NBA. But other than that, what does the guy bring to the table? He's not a winner by any means, he's proven to be a terrible distraction in the locker room and he refuses to be happy no matter where he is. So if you're the coach of the Houston Rockets or Dallas Mavericks, aren't you on your hands and knees praying that he doesn't come to your team? Howard will bring pressure, he will bring excessive media attention and most importantly-he'll decrease your job security. Plus, even if Howard does behave, would the Rockets or Mavericks have enough talent to beat teams like the Heat, Spurs, Thunder, and Clippers?

I understand that the NBA is a business, and that Howard will bring money to whatever team he goes to, championship or not. But it's time for someone to play the parent in this situation and stand up for what is right. Here is what should happen: First, the Lakers should take that billboard down now. Why? Because all it will do -- and may have already done -- is add to Howard's ego and his feeling of being wanted.

Because at this point, Howard cancels himself out. His positives and negatives are equal to each other, so the Lakers should have zero reason to beg for his services. Second, the GMs of other teams should set some ground rules. They should tell him that he's just like any other player, and that he cannot and will not make changes by complaining. Tell him that his salary is high purely because he can play, but whining like a baby to make changes is not included in his contract.

If these things aren't done, this will continue to be a relentless cycle. Howard wants to be the star, but he may not be good enough to win on a team where that's the case. And if he doesn't win, he'll end up on a team where he isn't the star and we're back to where we started. Unless he changes his attitude and makes sacrifices in his career, he will never be in a position to win a championship, and will go down as a tremendous talent with a serious ego problem. 

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