Dwight Howard takes issue with Orlando Magic retiring Shaquille O’Neal’s jersey: “no offense to Shaq”

The NBA veteran, Dwight Howard, comes up with a surprising argument that has taken center stage with a hot controversy surrounding the Orlando Magic’s decision to retire the legendary, Shaquille O’Neal’s jersey.

Howard has raised objections regarding this initiative that raise questions over who should have been the first to receive the honor. This unexpected controversy brings to light a distinctive debate over legacies, contributions, and the criteria for immortalizing players in a franchise’s history.

Dwight Howard raises question over Orlando Magic retiring Shaq’s jersey

Dwight Howard, the dominant center who is now a free agent in Taiwan, raises his concerns and questions over the Orlando Magic’s initiative to have Shaquille O’Neal’s jersey as the first jersey to retire in their new court.

Howard, no stranger to expressing his opinions, boldly declares that, in fact, he, and not O’Neal, should have been the first to receive this honor. He continues to debate the same by citing his extensive tenure and accomplishments with the Magic as his supportive statements for the same.

“What we did in Orlando, no offense to Shaq; he should have his jersey retired, but I should have mine too. Me, or at least T-Mac and Anfernee Hardaway,” said Howard on the All-Stars Podcast.

Gilbert Arenas, a former Magic guard, boldly asserted that Howard, not O’Neal, stands as the greatest player in Magic history, which sparked this controversy. This is not a one-off incident but rather an ongoing discussion.

Howard continues to vent out his frustrations by highlighting his disagreements in recognition of those of O’Neal being more important than those of his.

“The Magic have finally just decided to retire Shaq’s jersey,” Howard exclaimed. “And how many years did Shaq play with Orlando? Four years. So that’s kind of crazy. I played there for nine years.”

Dwight Howard’s career with Magic

Dwight Howard’s prominent career with the Orlando Magic was marked by eight All-Star appearances and three Defensive Player of the Year awards, these credentials alone serve as a testament to his dominance as one of the NBA’s greatest centers.

Howard was selected as the first overall pick by the Magic in the 2004 NBA Draft, his impact extended even beyond the Magic to multiple NBA teams, including the Houston Rockets, Atlanta Hawks, Los Angeles Lakers, and Philadelphia 76ers. However, it was during the 2019–20 season with the LA Lakers that Howard acquired his first NBA championship ring by contributing significantly alongside LeBron James and Anthony Davis.

Diving into the details of his 9-season tenure with the Magic Howard achieved a rare feat in his rookie season by averaging a double-double, becoming the youngest rookie ever in NBA history to do so, and averaging 12.0 points and 10.0 rebounds.

Yet, the story took a U-turn as Howard’s desire to win an NBA championship clashed with the Magic’s ability to contend with him. So he departed from the franchise, leaving fans to ponder the “why” behind his exit.

Howard won three Defensive Player of the Year titles, was named to the All-Defensive First Team and the All-NBA First Team many times, and had an enormous and enduring effect on the Magic’s franchise history, thus his legacy there is still indisputable, despite the controversies. 

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