Orlando Magic, Washington Wizards

Take Stan Van Gundy at his word about Dwight Howard

When Stan Van Gundy said on Orlando sports radio that he was sad to see Dwight Howard become a drifter, people should believe him.

Stan Van Gundy and Dwight Howard were going to win championships together with the Orlando Magic. Then, it all fell apart.

How it happened is the stuff of NBA legend, and for both Van Gundy and Howard, their careers were never really the same. While Van Gundy did find some stability with the Detroit Pistons — until he was fired this past summer — Howard has drifted from one NBA jersey to the next, much to the dismay of his former coach.

Speaking to Orlando sports columnist and radio host Mike Bianchi recently, he told him that he found it crazy to see Howard, who was once seen as one of the league’s premier stars, drift from team to team.

“It’s crazy; it really is,” he told Bianchi on his Open Mike show on Orlando’s 96.9 The Game. “And it’s not been a lot of fun to watch because this is a guy who was the best center in the game for a long time.”

Everyone should take Van Gundy at his word.

Diehard Magic fans who were there through the Magic’s “second golden era” can attest that Stan doesn’t sugarcoat anything. He was intense and was willing to win at all cost, and he never held his tongue on what was on his mind.

That was what caused the rift between Howard and Van Gundy, which led to the most awkward pre-game press conference in NBA history and Van Gundy’s firing. It’s not known if Stan and Howard patched things up, but it was known that he was distraught at seeing Howard fall the way he has fallen.

Only time will tell if Howard can regain his star status, but at least he knows that the coach that made him a star is (somewhat) still in his corner.

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