“Either you die the hero or live long enough to become the vi-” oh screw it, the stupidity that’s played out in Orlando and Sacramento over the last few days, months and years doesn’t even deserve an awesome Dark Knight comparison.
Neither situation is like a good movie. It’s more like a TV series you really want to get behind but they just keep tripping over themselves and prove to be unwatchable (think Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip or the first half of season two of The Walking Dead). Past being horribly frustrating to watch unfold, you may not think they have a ton in common. They don’t. The one characteristic the situations in Orlando and Sacramento do have in common is a big one. Both Dwight Howard and the Maloof Brothers don’t understand that despite how hard they’ve tried to avoid it, they’ve let themselves become the villain.
As Yahoo!’s Adrian Wojnarowski chronicled Thursday, Magic head coach Stan Van Gundy let the world know he had been told that Howard has been calling for Van Gundy to get fired since last summer. As awkward as that was Howard then walked up and joined Van Gundy in the media session, which the coach excused himself from after about 45 seconds. This is where Howard officially became bizarro Superman. He wasn’t just short with the media, he was rude, he was dismissive and he may have grown a five o’clock shadow right in the middle of the media session. Then he went out and looked I think as bad as he could have against the Knicks. It was an incredibly bizarre 24 hours and in the end Howard came out looking like an entitled child more than he ever has. All he wanted was to not be hated like LeBron and now he’s one of the most disliked guys in the league.
Speaking petulant children, the Maloof family and the Sacramento Kings may or may not be moving soon. At first it looked liked they were leaving because they couldn’t get a new arena built. Then it looked like they were staying thanks in large part to an amazing grassroots campaign on behalf of Kings fans. Now after it looked like all sides agreed to a deal, the Maloofs are backing off a deal they championed in front of their base just a few weeks ago. There are obvious financial considerations involved in whether they stay in Sacramento, but in the end if the Maloofs were truly committed to the California’s capital long term they would be doing more than they have to get an arena built. They let the NBA negotiate the latest arena deal on their behalf and several times throughout the new arena process you found yourself asking yourself where are the Maloofs? I’ll tell you where they were. They were sitting in their comfortable courtside seats, leading fans in cheering on the Kings during the close games and not sticking around for the blowouts.
When they deal was supposedly struck over All-Star Weekend, the Joe and Gavin Maloof came out with Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson and acted like they just won an Olympic gold medal. Now, according to the Sacramento Bee, they may be backing out of said deal over having giving three million dollars up front to the arena building process, less than one percent of the total cost of the arena. In a city littered with politicians, they’re may be the worst ones. And now they may be at odds with one of the city’s best. I’ll let you figure out how that PR battle is going to play out.
You know what pisses people off more than leaving? Acting like you want to be where you are and then behind the scenes doing everything you can to leave. I don’t think Dwight Howard wants to stay in Orlando and I definitely don’t think the Maloof family wants to stay in Sacramento. On one hand it’s completely understandable for them to want to leave a place where they don’t want to be. But don’t pretend like you’re happy with your situation when it’s obvious you’re not. Whether it’s Howard agreeing to stay in Orlando another year of Gavin Maloof’s crocodile tears that he gave to the media after the Sacramento arena deal was supposedly agreed to. In sports, insicerity will make you the villain. Screwing with people’s emotions will make you the villain. Dwight Howard and the Maloof family have done that to fans. It’s time for them to decide what they want, stick with it and to paraphrase Mayor Johnson, don’t jerk people around.