And, no, I don't want to see pious little bits of scripture tossed all around or interviews where he says he'd like to replace Jerry West's image in the NBA logo with that of another man whose first name started with "J." I understand he was a kid when he pointed out the latter, but even he has to see the disconnect between those ideals and the way he curses up a storm on the court. I've no problem (honestly) with either side of that coin, but you can't expect to not be criticized when you don't live up to the ideals you strongly encourage other people to have.
While none of this comes close in comparison, Howard is not having the easiest of times right now.
You remember Kay Kellogg, more than likely. A die-hard Magic fan suffering through a battle with terminal cancer, she had just one wish as she set to batten down the hatches in her fight with Myeloma. She wanted to meet Dwight Howard, because he is "just such a precious, wonderful kid." Whenever Kay watched Dwight play, she said, "he just makes me feel good inside."
It was hard to blame her. Few players in NBA history have mixed such a level of boundless energy with esprit de corps, as Howard. Singularly, he's a sight to behold, but in a team system? He's an astonishing watch. He might go too far with the refs, too often, but nobody has ever met an Orlando Magic game on national TV with a groan. He's too fun to behold.
Howard ended up meeting Kay, as Trey and the Orlando Sentinel's Mike Bianchi detailed, and what was supposed to be a half-hour meeting ended up lasting for two hours. Hugs were exchanged, perspective was gained, and then Dwight had to get back to stupid, silly things that we demand of him. Like closing out when someone gets past Vince Carter(notes), or trying to stop himself from launching yet another block into the 12th row, and instead batting it to Jameer Nelson(notes) to start the break.
The problem with that is that those stupid, silly things are what we tune in for. And it's what gave "Mama Kay" (as Dwight called her), hope, through times of health and hurt. Kellogg died on Sunday, and Dwight's sneakers had "For Mama Kay" stitched into them as he put up 26 points, 18 rebounds, three steals, and two blocks against what might be the best defensive big man of the last 40 years. And that's really all I'm qualified to say about this.
Our best to Mrs. Kellogg's family, and Dwight.
- Dwight Howard