Thursday, May 30, 2013

Stan Van Gundy Backs Dwight Howard

Stan Van Gundy didn't play the game. He didn't take the bait.
Stan Van Gundy
The game is called payback and the media invites one side to get revenge by providing a little prompting. You get points by settling a score with an athlete through the media. Sometimes, the one with the score to settle creates their own news through social media. Sometimes, as was the case today, the media puts the "ball" on a tee.

Van Gundy threw the ball back instead of take the easy swing.
Mike Greenberg and Mike Golic
Appearing on the ESPN radio show "Mike and Mike in the Morning," Van Gundy broke off hosts Mike Greenberg and Mike Golic. They made it easy for Van Gundy to rip into Dwight Howard, by wondering allowed if Roy Hibbert is emerging as the best center in the NBA.
Roy Hibbert

That was Van Gundy's cue to tear apart Howard like a leopard into a gazelle. Instead, he practically laughed in Mike and Mike's combined faces.
"Come on, that one's not close," You could put that question to 30 general managers in the league -- and give them the choice -- and Indiana, out of loyalty, might take Hibbert although I would doubt it. The other 29 would not even hesitate. Everybody's taking Dwight."

Van Gundy's reaction is being treated as a surprise, and because its antithetical to conventional wisdom, its being downplayed in the mainstream sports press. Anyone you talk to in the sports media will tell you that Howard got Van Gundy fired from his head coaching job with the Orlando Magic at the end of last season.
Dwight Howard
The fact that the Magic got rid of Howard following Van Gundy's departure pokes a big hole in that theory, but suppporters of it won't be moved. "Media" ( I have that in quotes because the sources used for this story were often obtained in exchange for anonymity) reports told us that Howard wanted to leave Orlando unless Van Gundy was fired.

This isn't the first time Van Gundy has supported Howard. Last March, when the media whipped up a fake, tornado sized controversy about comments Howard made about his time in Orlando, Van Gundy stepped in to defend his old charge.

"He did not, in my opinion, mean to say 'I didn't play with good players in Orlando,' The question was about his demeanor. He's been criticized for his demeanor on the court. He was basically
Van Gundy with Howard
trying to defend himself in his demeanor saying he can be smiling and still be serious about winning. What he meant to say is, 'We had an underrated or under the radar team in Orlando and we won a lot of games and I was the best player on that team and this was my demeanor. So what's the problem now?' "

This episode also proves something else; there is no feud between Van Gundy and Howard and now you have to question if there ever was a feud.

Van Gundy did the right thing but its going to take a lot more Van Gundy type reactions in the future to knock the media off its payback, auto-pilot programing.

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