So the story goes, Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard had a private conversation with a person or multiple people within the Magic management about wanting head coach Stan Van Gundy to be fired. During today’s shoot around, Van Gundy addressed the issue saying that he was told by someone in management told that Howard indeed wanted him fired.
Then what happened next is what one of the most awkward exchanges you’ll see during an interview. Howard walked over to Van Gundy and put his arm around him. He played dumb asked if Dave “Ping” (Pingalore) was in attendance. Pingalore, according to the Orlando Sentinel, reported on Tuesday that Howard told Magic management that he wanted Van Gundy out before signing a contract extension.
It reminded me of an older brother (Howard) bullying his younger brother (Van Gundy) into taking the rap in front of their parents.
Charles Barkley, Kenny Smith and Shaquille O’Neal weighed in on the situation. Smith and Shaq were pretty non-committal as to who’s to blame, but Barkley wasn’t about to pull punches. His rant begins at the 2:15 mark
As far as I’m concerned, nobody is right in there. Howard seems to have a vise grip on the Magic’s management’s collective balls. The NBA, like all four major professional sports, is a players’ league. But the power given to its superstars is sickening. To suggest that management fire Van Gundy is extreme. Then for SVG to pick up Howard by his stupid Superman cape and toss him under the bus – it’s like throwing gasoline on the fire. And if this Dave Pingalore guy is right and someone in management did indeed tell SVG that Howard wants him out, the guy should be fired.
It’s a product of the system. The NBA is full of overly-charismatic individuals out for themselves. Dwight Howard isn’t good enough to win an NBA championship without another top five player in the league on his team. Fittingly, this all occurred on day-time television. It’s a soap opera. Hopefully with baseball back in the fold, the theatrics that make up the NBA will be put on the back page where they belong.