How History Will Remember Dwight Howard’s LA Lakers Stopover

Dwight Howard's brief cameo with the Los Angeles Lakers last year was many things: exciting, complicated, bizarre and even sad in some instances. But most of all, it'll be remembered as a failure.

What's interesting, though, is that the Lakers are already doing their best to make sure nobody remembers the extremely short "Howard Era" at all.

If owner Jim Buss has his way, Howard's time in L.A. will eventually seem as surreal and forgettable as Hakeem Olajuwon's tenure with the Toronto Raptors, or Patrick Ewing's season with the Seattle Sonics. Buss is doing his best to create a cognitive distance between his team and the superstar that ditched it by revising history.

Howard's hurtful "thanks, but no thanks" to the Lakers is clearly bothering Buss (and to a similar extent) many L.A. fans.

That's why Buss came out and told Ric Bucher of The Hollywood Reporter that Howard "was never really a Laker. He was just passing through."

What Buss really means—and what untold numbers of Lakers fans have ritualistically repeated—is that Howard was never a "true" Laker.

Let's examine that sentiment for a second.

On one level, Buss, representing the Lakers, is basically re-framing the narrative of Howard's departure to make it look as though the team is somehow glad the big man is gone. It's like he's saying, "We were glad to break up with Dwight," when in fact, Howard was the one that dumped them.

In addition, the notion of someone being a true Laker, or a "true anything" for that matter, is absurd in this context. What does that even mean? Did Howard never literally bleed Purple and Gold? Did he actually dress in the visiting locker room?

It's a meaningless idea that once-powerful teams use when they feel powerless. The alternative (and more realistic) analysis of the Howard situation is that the Lakers' owners...

About the Author