Would the Orlando Magic Actually Be Relevant? Would the Infamous Butt Injury Still Have Taken Place?
Welcome to the What If… series. In this column, we will discuss hypothetical situations from all avenues of sports and entertainment. We will examine what would happen to the major players involved. On this trip down the hypothetical highway, we take a look at the career of reformed cry-baby Dwight David Howard II.
Rebuilding A Franchise
In the 2004 NBA Draft, the Orlando Magic selected Dwight Howard with the 1st overall pick. That does not change here. The Magic had just lost Tracy McWhiny, eh McGrady, who bailed because he felt his team wasn’t adding enough help around him. No one expected Grant Hill to shatter his ankle but hey let’s make it all about you T-Mac. I digress.
Orlando needed a superstar.
Shaq was gone.
Penny had bounced.
McGrady was out.
Hill was injured.
Tim Duncan never arrived.
Enter the 6’10” man-child from Atlanta. Howard would go on to lead the Magic to the NBA Finals–losing to the Lakers in five–and would eventually leave to build his brand in LA but in this article, the Finals’ loss does not lead to a downward spiral where Howard wants out. Instead, it motivates him to bring “The City Beautiful” its first professional sports championship. In this article, Superman stays home.
How Successful Would the Magic Have Been?
After losing to the Lakers in 2009, the Magic made it back to the conference semis the following year, getting beat by Boston. Then in 2011, they were ousted by the Hawks in the first round of the playoffs, leading to the Dwightmare saga. This is where our story takes its first turn.
We all know what Mamba Mentality is thanks to the late, great Kobe Bryant. Gearing up for the 2012 season #12 invents his own take, Howard Hypnosis. What is that you ask? It’s playing so good that your opponents are hypnotized into standing and watching. It would also be known as stupid, yet effective. This new and improved Dwight Howard would get his teammates to buy in and, along with future legend Rafer Alston, lead them to their first NBA Championship, bulldozing the Heat’s Big 3 in the conference championship.
Author’s Note: Rafer Alston was a New York playground legend referred to as Skip To My Lou. The Magic traded for Alston when starting point guard Jameer Nelson went down with an injury. He played spectacularly. Somehow when Nelson got himself healthy for the NBA Finals, (also known as a fear of losing your job) the chemistry was off and in reality, the Magic got destroyed by the Lakers. My point here is that Skip To My Lou got hosed so his inclusion in this article is merely for an official “un-hosing.”
Additional Author’s Note: The official Un-Hosing t-shirt will soon be available, but for now check out our awesome selection of shirts.
After winning a championship is there really any way that a franchise player packs up and rolls out of town?
Kawhi Leonard I’m looking at you kid.
The Magic would re-sign their cornerstone center to a five year $118 million dollar contract that included annual passes to Disney World for life. Even with the biggest contract in franchise history, and a bloated Rashard Lewis deal (if you are asking who right now I do not blame you), Orlando was able to sign Chris Paul. The Orlando Big 3 would now be able to compete with Miami and would go on to win three NBA titles in a row and four out of five.
Author’s Note: Rafer Alston gets hosed in an alternate universe as well.
After being dismantled by this Magic juggernaut LeBron James would fail to keep his promise to the Miami faithful. Remember that egotistical hype ceremony for Wade, Bosh, and James? In this timeline, the Miami Heat did not win a single championship.
Not 1. Certainly not 2. Definitely not 3.
Obsessed with holding the Larry O’Brien Trophy, James would ultimately take his talents to the Bay Area, joining Curry, Klay, and the most notorious ring-chaser since Robert Horry—Kevin Durant. These Warriors would win one championship ring before falling to the Magic in the 2017 NBA Finals leading to KD bouncing from the bay to sign with Dwight and company. But what about Bron? King James would still end up with the Lakers but more importantly, he would follow MJ and Dwight by starring in Space Jam 3 with none other than Rafer F’N Alston. UN-HOSED!
Stan the Man
If you are a basketball fan you probably remember the awkward moment back on April 5th, 2012, when Dwight interrupted a Stan Van Gundy interview in which the coach claimed he knew Howard wanted him fired. With perfect timing, Dwight jumped in and put his arm around Van Gundy ultimately looking like a fool.
In our new and improved timeline, Stan Van Gundy won a total of five NBA titles with the Magic and eventually became Team President. From a personal standpoint, the relationship between DH and SVG is full of love and devotion with Stan being the godfather to three of Dwight’s five kids.
Author’s Note: Two of the five-women that Dwight Howard impregnated in this universe were Van Gundy’s longtime secretary and his niece. He declined to be the godfather to their children.
Additional Author’s Note: Stan Van Gundy also declined comment for this fake storyline.
While (briefly) playing for the Washington Wizards in 2019, Howard allegedly injured his lower back. It was later reported that said injury occurred in his buttocks which would require a “Buttectomy.” Dwight missed all but nine games that season, and there was speculation as to how the injury happened. So in this alt-universe, does history repeat itself?
Not satisfied with five kids from five gals, Dwight would attempt to go six for six, however, due to one too many BlueChews, he pushed himself a bit too hard in the bedroom and did in fact still injure his Man of Steel buns, missing the final 16 games of the regular season.
Dwight Howard would have gone on to a sure-fire Hall of Fame career had he stayed with the Orlando Magic. This would be his 16th straight season averaging a double-double. With 14 All-Star appearances and five championships, a statue would be waiting for him outside of the Amway Center on the day he retired. No player would ever wear #12 in Orlando ever again.
Instead, Howard’s arrogance guided him away from the best situation for his career. We can’t speak in hypotheticals in the real world. Hindsight is always 20-20 but we don’t know that at the time. Dwight Howard could have been a bigger name in Orlando than Mickey Mouse. But when you think of dominant Magic centers Shaq is still the man despite only four seasons in Orlando.
Dwight Howard now wears #39 in his second stint with the Lakers. Perhaps a more suitable number for him would be #5.
Five kids. Five mommas.
Five years. Five teams. Sorry Memphis you don’t count.
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