It is sometimes tough being a Magic fan these days (I should know). Earlier this week, an interview Howard had with Esquire was released and sent Magic fans and the NBA world back into the will-he, won’t-he leave Orlando mode. Dwight Howard is going to become a free agent, that is about all we know. Nothing really changed on that front.
And then Howard makes these kind of plans to show you how much he loves Orlando… or loves to toy with them.
On Thursday, Dwight Howard tweeted to his followers their thoughts on hosting an “old school vs. new school Magic game/weekend” in Orlando. The idea quickly generated a ton of excitement and response in Orlando as Howard said he wanted all of Orlando involved. And, now, it appears Howard will follow through on his plans.
Howard has been talking with his followers, as he often does, and dropping hints about when and where the event will be Saturday.
“It’s gonna be a weekend like a Magic All-Star weekend. Give you more details soon. 11th thru 13th,” Howard tweeted when pressed for more information about the event. He later revealed it will be held at UCF Arena at the University of Central Florida in Orlando.
Howard has been absent from the exhibition all star game. Part of that is because he is a center and those are more guard showcases. Howard did participate in an charity game on the campus of Louisville University hosted by former teammate Earl Clark in early August. But that has been about it when it comes to the NBA’s best big man participating in formal informal basketball games.
But the thought of an Old School Magic vs. New School Magic exhibition game opens up a pretty crazy set of all star players.
Before getting into the crazy names I am thinking of, let me get the news-y stuff out of the way. Former Magic guard Courtney Lee told Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel that he would love to play in Howard’s exhibition game. Former Magic guard Steve Francis also proactively lobbied to join the Old School Magic squad too. No word if he would actually get an invite.
Now onto the speculation.
I would also expect many of the current Magic players, like Jameer Nelson, J.J. Redick and Brandon Bass, to express interest in playing. Many of them are in Orlando right now anyway preparing for the, ahem, season and training camp. I would expect Dwight to invite childhood friends Josh Smith and Josh Powell to the game as well. Former Magic players Rashard Lewis and Vince Carter, who both still reside in Orlando, would be good picks to. And I would not put it past Howard to invite Amar’e Stoudemire, who went to Cypress Creek High School in Orlando, and Marquis Daniels, a product of Edgewater High School in Orlando, to the event as well.
But maybe he wants to keep it strictly to Magic players.
In that case, he still has a ton of players he could invite. Almost immediately, everyone believed Tracy McGrady and possibly Anfernee Hardaway would be on the list. Sure would be fun to combine the two greatest No. 1s in franchise history… if their legs will hold up. We might even see Tracy McGrady and Grant Hill on the same court healthy. Gasp!
Shaquille O’Neal probably would not be up to playing in one of these games, unless he really wanted to turn over a new leaf and throw a lot of weight (a lot of weight) behind Dwight Howard.
There are a lot of options for this game. And with Howard running the show, you know some stars will want to show up.
Of course, Howard cannot do anything without somebody discussing his future. And this makes things even more interesting. Do you do something like this and promise all this stuff about Orlando without wanting to stay? That was the question a lot of people asked after Howard through an impromptu Memorial Day bar-b-q at his expense in May. Do you do that if you are paving your way out of town?
I am beginning to delude myself into thinking he is going to stay. I need to get myself down to 50/50 again.
We will see what Howard has in store when he officially announces his plans.