It is very well known that the working relationship between star center Dwight Howard and head coach Stan Van Gundy did not end well in Orlando. SVG said that Howard was trying to get him fired, Howard issued several complaints that SVG would make his actions public, Van Gundy was fired, and Dwight left in trade. All things considered, it was pretty much the worst possible resolution to the issues.
On the bright side, not all has been lost in the relationship between the two men. Currently, they're teaming up to do substantive good for Florida schools. From Mike Bianchi for the Orlando Sentinel (via EOB):
If you read my column last week, you know Van Gundy is the chairman of a political group in Seminole County called Citizens for Preservation of Property Values. The goal of the group is to increase property taxes in Seminole County to help preserve the area's traditionally strong public school system — a system that has been decimated by $73 million in budget cuts over the past five years. In the Nov. 6 general election, Seminole voters will decide whether to approve a 1-mill increase in property taxes for four years beginning a year from now. The increase would bring in as much as $25 million annually to the school district.
Van Gundy says Dwight, who was recently traded to the Lakers, is going to lend some financial backing to the cause. "Dwight has pledged his support," Van Gundy said Monday during an interview on our Open Mike radio show on 740 The Game. "He's a resident of Seminole County, and he's keeping his house here. I think his history will show that he's had great concern for kids in the Central Florida community. With him still living here, we asked him to help and he didn't hesitate."
Surprisingly to some, both Stan and Dwight say they are on good terms and have been communicating regularly over the last several weeks. Van Gundy even texted Howard and wished him good luck after he was traded to L.A.
It is typically considered good form to forgive and forget, and so we must give credit to SVG and Howard for working together to help others. Still, it's surprising that they could put all this behind them after some truly ugly action in Orlando. On the other hand, both seem to be happier now, and maybe that's all that matters.
It's a cliche to say that squabbles like the ones Van Gundy and Howard had in Orlando are "just business," but that seems to be their point of view in this case. Personally, I'm not sure that I could have seen past the arguments of the past, particularly if I'd been fired as a result. It's unlikely that these two are best friends these days, but it's also genuinely impressive that they were able to move on and do good for others. Dwight Howard has often looked like a child during this ordeal, but he deserves credit here for putting the past aside and doing good for the kids.
Outside the Game from Yahoo! Sports:
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