Stan Van Gundy and Dwight Howard are getting killed for their bizarre interview yesterday. Charles Barkley, Kenny Smith, and Shaquille O'Neal all blame Van Gundy for going public with the news that Howard asked Magic senior management to fire Van Gundy. The TNT analysts are wrong. Some writers on NBA.com have called Howard a child. They're wrong.
Howard has every right to ask management to fire Van Gundy. However, he must be prepared for the consequences if he does. Management could rebuke his request. His request could get back to Van Gundy. It could go public and Howard would take a massive PR hit. All have happened.
Van Gundy has every right to be honest. Why should he have to lie for Howard? Howard drew the line when he asked for Van Gundy to be fired. Either management will back Howard or Van Gundy. There's really no reason for Van Gundy to lie to the public to protect Howard. So he should lose trust with the public in order to protect a guy who wants him fired? To ask him to do that is to not have a good grasp of reality.
I can relate to Howard's request to have his boss fired. I can relate to Van Gundy releasing that information. I can't relate to Howard's arrogant interview yesterday. The phoniness of putting his arm around Van Gundy as if to show solidarity was too much for me to take. His continued lying to reporters (and consequently the public) after he had been caught lying was aggravating. That was the only issue with the entire situation I've has a problem with. Howard was clearly two-faced and that's not a quality I respect.
Howard is a fun-loving guy. He's also known to be sensitive and takes things personally. He doesn't like to be viewed as the bad guy. He may not take the the game of basketball quite as seriously as LeBron or Kobe. He doesn't possess the same will to win. I don't think there's anything wrong with any of that. In my mind, he's the third or fourth best player in the league without that killer instinct. His personality shouldn't be criticized; the duplicity he showed in yesterday's interview should be, however.