Dwight Howard recently said he starred on an Orlando Magic team of nobodies “with a smile on his face,” but former teammate Jameer Nelson isn’t smiling. Nelson responded Wednesday, asking when Howard was going to be a man and take ownership of his not winning an NBA championship in Orlando.
The simmering media feud could heat up as Howard approaches his first return to Orlando when the Lakers visit the Magic on March 12. Many in Orlando are still upset after Howard forced a trade to Los Angeles during the off-season.
“My team in Orlando was a team full of people who nobody wanted,” said Howard in a video interview with CBS2/KCAL9. “I was the leader and I led that team with a smile on my face.”
Nelson joined Howard as first-round picks in the 2004 NBA Draft, and got along with the All-Star center for almost eight seasons, helping the Magic’s run to the 2009 NBA Finals where they lost to the Lakers. Their relationship began to go south when Howard publicly admitted wanting to play with the league’s top point guards such as Chris Paul.
“At some point, when are you gonna as a man, when are you going to take ownership and stay out of the media in a professional manner?” asked Nelson to the Orlando Sentinel on Wednesday.
“I would be less of a man to comment on certain things that people comment on about me and my teammates,” Nelson continued. “We had a great run as a group, as core guys, and he was a part of it and for him to say things about anybody in a negative manner, that’s up to him.”