Give Dwight Howard credit for lessons learned. He has grown to be dislikable enough on his own over the years to not need help from LeBron James. So Howard barely made a decision Friday night, let alone a sequel to The Decision.
LeBron three years ago announced his free agency choice with confetti and heavens trumpets, on live national television on ESPN. Taking my talents to South Beach thrilled Miami only. It took LeBron a bakery of humble pie and a couple of championships to (begin to) recover from The Decision.
Howard, the most coveted free agent since, made his decision quietly, reportedly holed up in Aspen, Colo., not speaking into a microphone, perhaps speaking instead into a Hot Toddy.
Howards choice of Houston was not so much announced as figured out. Long-shot Atlanta was reported out. Then Mark Cuban said Dallas was out. Then it became clear he wouldnt re-sign with the Lakers. Then Golden State got the message. At last, by process of elimination, it appeared the player who calls himself Superman would be counting James Hardens beard as his new Robin.
Speaking for Miami, we are amused by your evolving landscape, NBA.
Here in Championville, we tinker. We re-sign Ray Allen. We endeavor to keep Chris Birdman Andersen. We cast an eye at Greg Oden. And we are amused by the desperation elsewhere.
We see the Brooklyn Nets mortgage their future to sign Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce like thats a good idea. Now we see the hierarchy out West supposedly shifted Houstons way.
The champion Heat survey all of this with a small smile and an imperceptible nod.
Bring it on, those things say.
• A man shovels food nonstop into his gaping maw in a disgusting display of gastronomic gluttony and nauseating excess. What? Oh, you thought I meant professional eater Joey Chestnut winning the annual Coney Island hot dog eating contest? I meant me, in my backyard, on the Fourth of July.
• The Panthers made Finnish center Aleksander Barkov the No. 2 overall pick in last weeks hockey draft. He is 17 but said to be ready for the NHL. At 17, I wasnt even ready to decide between a Whopper and a Big Mac.
• ESPN The Magazines Body issue, featuring Marlin Giancarlo Stanton, is out this week. It is expected to be enjoyed no other place on Earth more than in the Marlins clubhouse, where the all-time record for collegial ridicule may be challenged.
• ESPN.com had a piece examining why LeBron has not appeared in more TV endorsements. Hmm. He is all over Nike ads. He pitched Beats by Dre during the playoffs. He has major deals with McDonalds, Coca-Cola, State Farm and Samsung, and he makes more money in endorsements $50 million-plus per year than any other American athlete. But other than that!
• The opening weekend of sailings Americas Cup off San Francisco has been a debacle, with strong wins canceling time trials and the New Zealand and Italian teams protesting new safety rules. Sports fans across America reacted with utter indifference.
Dolphin Ryan Tannehill is ranked 24th on analyst Ron Jaworskis pre-training camp list of NFL starting quarterbacks. Choosing to see the glass half full, Dolfans have gathered outside team HQ and begun a Were No. 24! chant.