Will Dwight Howard Go Down in History as Most Reviled LA Lakers Player Ever?

It's tough to think of players who've suited up for the Los Angeles Lakers at one point or another and have come to be reviled at some point thereafter.

The NBA's marquee franchise has been so successful for so long that just about everyone who's worn the purple and gold over the years has been party to either a championship campaign or some other fun and memorable season that would endear him to the team's legion of fans.

But rack your brain for long enough and you'll come up with a few names that'd make any Lakers fan's stomach churn. Smush Parker and Kwame Brown come to mind. Kermit Washington wasn't particularly popular after punching Rudy Tomjanovich in the face back in December 1977. Cedric Ceballos had his issues with in-season vacations, while Nick Van Exel had a way of grating on teammates and spectators alike.

Dwight Howard, though, takes the cake—and it's not even close.

No other Laker ever came saddled with such baggage. No other Laker was both the cause of a huge jump in expectations upon arrival and (partly) responsible for such a massive shortfall thereafter. No other Laker invited such criticism with his demeanor, both on and off the court. No other Laker ever embodied the disappointment of a lost season quite like Howard did in 2012-13.

And no other incumbent player of Howard's stature in the game had ever willfully spurned the Lakers to play elsewhere.


Bad Omens 

There was plenty of cause for concern when word first broke that the Lakers had acquired Dwight Howard from the Orlando Magic as part of a four-team trade involving the Philadelphia 76ers and the Denver Nuggets. Howard was mere months removed from a serious back operation that'd short-circuited his 2011-12 season and left his status for the start of the 2012-13 campaign in doubt.

The trouble with Howard started well before that, though.

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