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Since this is a year of nostalgia and looking back at the Magic's 25 years of existence, and since we just finished talking about this with the Magic playing Dwight Howard and the Houston Rockets in the preseason, we might as well continue to leave this question open-ended.
Before Wednesday's game against the Rockets, Howard told the media (Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel among them) that he was a bit upset the Magic gave his No. 12 to Tobias Harris just a year after he had left the organization.
It ultimately boils down to the ultimate question: Dwight Howard would like to have his jersey number retired with the Magic. Maybe he thinks he controls it for all time (Derek Harper, Chris Whitney and Joe Wolf might have something to say about that too). There is no doubt that the No. 12 in Magic blue will be associated with Howard (barring Tobias Harris becoming a super duper All Star in the next few years).
No one can blame Howard for wanting to see his jersey hang from the rafters one day:
Despite how things ended, we had eight or seven great years. We went to The Finals. A lot of those banners that are in the arena happened when I was there. I was a major part of that. A lot of the records that are there, I put them there.
I hate talking about myself, but I feel like I’ve done a lot, not just for the team but the city and the arena itself and the businesses that were around. There’s a lot of things that happened that didn’t happen before I got there. Our team, we did an excellent job at putting all that stuff together, especially in the community. I was deeply embedded in the community and I feel like one day it should [be retired].
But with all that happened, I can’t control that. All I’ve got to do is win. And, hopefully, when I’m done playing here, I’ll have my jersey retired here.
Asking for a team to hold your jersey while you are still playing, particularly after the acrimonious exit he had from the team was extremely presumptuous. Howard does not seem to realize the impact his will-he, won't-he season and his eventual exit had on the fan basis and on the franchise.
Forever is a long time though. Howard remains the team's all-time leading scorer and rebounder and, pheraps, its best player of all time. There is no doubting all the good Howard did in Orlando. One day, his jersey should be retired in Orlando.
Asking for it now though? That is both extremely reflective and extremely egotistical at the same time. There was a better way for Howard to get his point across.
In any case, Magic fans are not ready to hear it. With Dwight, often the best decision is to stay quiet. He has not learned that quite yet.