Ball Don't Lie - NBA

Sweet new website, you guys. Run by Washington Wizards forward Josh Howard(notes). I'll let Wizards owner Ted Leonsis do the hypin':

I would like to drive some traffic to his site so click here and see what he is all about.

This is well done. He is a good man and a special player.

He should be back in a Wizards uniform soon. He is a respected leader and has promised to make a comeback from injury. We all can't wait but we won't rush him in any way.

Well done Josh. Well done.

Well done, Ted. Well done. Way to make point number 102 something about calling one of the league's great non-leaders "a respected leader" because ... well, because he's on your team, now.

Josh Howard is not a respected leader. Over the last couple of years, he isn't even much of a respected player. He's seen his game level off, when it should be improving year by year, and the guy's off-court issues are far from what you'd expect from "a respected leader."

What'd he do? Well, he street raced, for one, which is so stupefying dangerous and stupid and irresponsible that I don't know where to start, and I'm the car freak that is up all night looking at old Audi Quattro clips on YouTube. Howard also decided to throw a major birthday party for himself in New Orleans a few years ago during the playoffs, after a loss, even after coach Avery Johnson kindly asked the soon-to-be respected leader not to.

He admitted to smoking marijuana during the offseason, something I don't really have a problem with outside of the way it forced his teammates to have to answer questions about his pot use on the day of a playoff game. And there was the whole Star-Spangled Banner episode, how Howard won't respect his country's national anthem because (his words, ‘natch) "I'm black." Again, no real problem there as the great thing about this country is that Howard can say whatever he wants about whatever he wants, save for Josh attempting to represent the feelings and internal conflicts and differing levels of reverence of nearly 13 percent of the American population in one NSFW YouTube video.

If you want to use your gifts to use pro basketball as a means to fill up your bank account, more power to you. At the end of the day, it's a gig. But there's a difference between a basketball player and someone who leads a basketball team. Josh Howard, when he returns from a torn-up knee, is a basketball player. No shame in that. None of this, even with the lapse that could have killed several people during his street races, makes Josh a bad dude. But he is just a basketball player.

And if you're banking on anything more than that, Ted, you've had it. Because if Josh is working hard behind the scenes to improve his image and grow into a leader (there are several indications of this), that's great, but he actually has to follow through on all that improvement for a while to become "respected." He can't just be "a respected leader" just because you're going to call him that now.

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