September 26, 2017 | 5:41 pm EDT Update
Dwight Howard’s most recent interlude in Atlanta was supposed to not only be a homecoming of sorts, but an opportunity to resurrect a once-promising career by demonstrating a willingness to evolve his game. But the Hawks opted to pull the plug after a disappointing season, and now reports are emerging that it was in no small part due to Howard’s ongoing inability to accept a reduced role and all the interpersonal turmoil that follows him everywhere he goes. What’s worse is that his teammates had reportedly grown so weary of him that, upon news of his trade, they couldn’t wait to bid him good riddance, according to Zach Lowe of ESPN’s The Lowe Post Podcast.
“I don’t know what it is. No one has kind of gotten to the bottom of why. It can’t just be the corny jokes – and my god, does he tell the corniest jokes – but I’ve heard multiple stories of Hawks players learning about the [Dwight Howard] trade and screaming with jubilation into their phones. You ask why, and one account was that Dwight would give these speeches before the game about how everyone is playing hard, we want unity, we’re going to… and then go out and play like a blah game where he demands post touches and doesn’t rotate as hard as he could. And everyone is like, ‘why are you speaking in the locker room?’ But that’s all anecdotal. It’s just crazy how these stories come out after every stop in his career.”
Carmelo Anthony didn’t know where to begin. Puerto Rico. The NFL protests. The endless tweets from President Trump that add to the growing fear Anthony has for people who look like him. But as the 10-time All-Star surveyed the surreal scene at Chesapeake Energy Arena on Monday, his trade from the New York Knicks to the Oklahoma City Thunder having been finalized just in time for training camp, he became the latest professional athlete to express his frustration with the current administration.
“I just think it’s wrong, to be honest with you,” he told USA TODAY Sports. “I just think it’s silly. It just shows that you don’t really have a care for the fear that the minorities have in our country right now. You don’t really understand. You don’t get it, like what it’s like being a minority. You don’t understand that people are scared. People are afraid. People don’t know what’s going on, and there’s so much going on they don’t know how to feel. I think all we’re looking for is some kind of security blanket that – at the end of the day – you have our back. And you’re showing that you don’t.”