Lakers Beg Dwight Howard to Stay, But Haven’t We Already Seen How This Plays Out?
The Los Angeles Lakers are all but begging Dwight Howard to resign in LA, with the team’s latest tactic being new billboards around town encouraging Howard to “stay.” Interestingly, we have seen this approach tried before when Cleveland put a full-court press (pun intended) on LeBron James to stay with the Cavs — only to see their efforts backfire when James gave us “The Decision” to leave for South Beach. This type of going “all out” to keep a player is a relatively new technique used by teams, but does it work? And even if Howard does indeed return to LA, will the dynamic be so permanently changed between he and the team that he loses his edge and desire for a championship because of being so coddled during this courtship?
Star players and big egos are nothing new to sports, but we must wonder if there is a “tipping point” to where a player loses his edge because he has been so pampered? In the case of Howard, the Lakers have all but rolled out a red carpet (which still may happen), leaving us to wonder if all these efforts have any impact on the player should he decide to stay? Assuming that happens, will Howard realize he is so in demand (and in control) that he can do whatever he wants, whenever he wants — and that there will be little, if any, accountability? This phenomena sometimes happens in life with “stars,” be it in sports or business.
There is a line in the movie Ferris Bueller’s Day Off where Bueller turns to the camera and says “You can never respect someone who kisses your a$$.” I often wonder if a player loses his focus and mental toughness when it becomes so apparent that the team really does revolve around him, and that he can practically do anything he wants and have no real consequences to worry about. The Lakers are doing everything they can to save Howard, similar to how the Cleveland Cavaliers did all they could to cater to LeBron James (and his posse) when he was a free agent. Whether Howard returns to LA remains to be seen, but if he does it will be interesting to watch whether he comes back with a fire in his belly or returns for the money and nothing else.