Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Is That Dwight Howard's Theme Music?

If you think about it, it's really easy to understand why Bill Simmons' two favorite sports - using the term loosely in one case - are basketball and wrestling. No other sport offers the sorts of heel turns, off the turnbuckle insanity, chest-thumping speechifying, and slamming of people in the back of the head with figurative folding chairs that the NBA does, and the recent Dwight Howard four-way orgy is the best proof of it yet. Howard himself did his best heel turn, alternating between declaring his allegiance to the Magic and demanding to be traded to the team of his choice (Brooklyn, because presumably he's got a titanic fixed-gear bike, an iPod full of Lana Del Rey MP3s, and a closet full of corduroy in earth tones). And in the end, he got what he wanted - a trade to a contending team, the chance to make max money in a place with more star power than Orlando, the chance to test free agency, and a year to take advantage of a lineup that could probably finish second in the Olympics to nab that championship that's done so much for LBJ's reputation. He might as well have donned spandex tights and a luchador mask for his post-trade press conference.
You generally don't get this in other sports. Try it in baseball and you get buried by the fans and media, as Ryan Dempster can now attest. Try it in football and you're a wide receiver, which means either you're productive and they put up with you, or you're not any more and they cut you, and even Bill Belichick has a strict limit on the number of reclamation jobs he can undertake in a single year. Try it in hockey and you lose teeth, because the hockey core fanbase has an even more Norman Rockwell-ized view of a what a player owes his team than baseball, and they still hate Keith Primeau here in Carolina.
But basketball is where the stars' egos come out to play, and it's so Simmonsy it's perfect.
Me, as a rough approximation of a Sixer fan, I'm interested in seeing if the Bynum-shaped gamble pays off. I'm sorry to see Andre Iguodala go; he always put more on the court than you saw in the box score. He'll be a great fit in Denver. The Sixers have at least made themselves interesting. And Orlando...has a lot of picks they can potentially bundle in trades.
But really, none of that matters. What matters is that Dwight Howard grabbed the mike, then grabbed the folding chair, then grabbed the belt. And as the Hulkster will tell you, heel turns pay.
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