You can say what you want about Stan Van Gundy’s coaching style and ability, but there’s one indisputable truth about him: He will speak his mind, regardless of consequence.
Today, Stan Van Gundy, clearly fed up with the Dwight Howard saga, outed his star center and instantly turned him into the league’s #1 villain:
End of story.
Dwight Howard tried to deny it, but the cat is now out of the bag. In this crazy, embarrassing game being played in Orlando, Stan is now the hero, and Dwight is the villain. Again.
Maybe this is a parting shot. Maybe it’s an attempt to smack some sense, or maturity, into Dwight’s head. Whatever it is, Stan put the onus on Dwight to stand behind his demands. There will be no more of this behind-the-scenes crap and then public denials. Stan has made certain of that.
Dwight Howard has no choice but to own this now. There’s no finger to point at anyone. There’s no spin that can wash this stink off of him now. It’s time for the kid to grow up, admit to having a problem with Stan, and then moving on from it.
Will Stan walk away? Who knows. Maybe he’s too sick of this stick around. Or maybe he’s dug in, standing his ground, and challenging his petulant superstar to mature and realize life isn’t about being universally loved and getting everything you want. Life is about compromise and working with people to get the best out of even the worst situations.
Stan not only called Dwight out today, he challenged Dwight to become something he’s not. If Dwight continues to dance around it, then we’ll know he just doesn’t get it, and we just have to accept that he’ll always be immature. It will be a disappointing realization for a lot of us. It might be especially disappointing for the suits at Adidas, who are desperately hoping Dwight pulls out of this tailspin. And it will be devastating to Orlando Magic fans, who suffered through this roller coaster year only be smacked in the face by today’s developments. Gone would be the hope that Dwight has begun to figure out what it takes to be a leader.
Today has become a pivotal point in Dwight Howard’s career. Will Dwight rise to Stan’s challenge, or will we watch him fail, and remain the league’s newest villain?